Purpose: The intravenous administration of α-Galactosylceramide (α-GalCer)-pulsed antigen presenting cells (APCs) is well tolerated and the increased IFN-γ producing cells in the peripheral blood after the treatment appeared to be associated with prolonged survival. An exploratory study protocol was designed with the preoperative administration of α-GalCer-pulsed APCs to clarify the mechanisms of these findings, while especially focusing on the precise tumor site.
Methods: Patients with operable advanced lung cancer received an intravenous injection of α-GalCer-pulsed APCs before surgery. The resected lung and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected and the invariant NKT (iNKT) cell-specific immune responses were analyzed.
Results: Four patients completed the study protocol. We observed a significant increase in iNKT cell numbers in the TILs and augmented IFN-γ production by the α-GalCer-stimulated TILs.
Conclusion: The administration of α-GalCer-pulsed APCs successfully induced the dramatic infiltration and activation of iNKT cells in the tumor microenvironment.