Immune response, clinical outcome and safety of dendritic cell vaccine in combination with cytokine-induced killer cell therapy in cancer patients

Oncol Lett. 2013 Aug;6(2):537-541. doi: 10.3892/ol.2013.1376. Epub 2013 Jun 4.


The aim of the present study was to determine the clinical value of autologous immunocyte therapy as a standard treatment regimen for patients with cancer. A total of 121 patients with cancer were included in this study. Subsequent to performing leukapheresis using the Fresenius Kabi System, 1×107 dendritic cells (DCs) for the vaccine and 1×109 cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells for injection were prepared. An analysis of the immune phenotypes of HLA2DR, CD80 and CD83 for the DCs and of CD3, CD8 and CD56 for the CIK cells, as well as negative detection of bacteria and endotoxin, were used as the quality standards. The delayed-type hyper-sensitivity (DTH) skin test was used to measure the immune response, while physical strength, appetite and sleeping status were analyzed for the clinical outcome. Fever, insomnia, anorexia, joint soreness and skin rashes were recorded as side-effects. Patients received the DC vaccination once a week for six weeks and a CIK cell injection six times within four days. In total, 121 cancer patients with primary tumors located in the colorectum (43.0%), lung (15.7%), breast (11.6%), kidney (5.8%), stomach (4.1%) and other regions (19.8%) were included in the study. A positive cell-mediated cytotoxicity response rate of 76.9% was detected by the DTH skin tests. Improvements in physical strength, appetite and sleeping status were observed in 94.1, 83.9 and 76.3% of cases, respectively. None of the serious adverse side-effects that commonly occur during chemotherapy and radiotherapy were observed. During therapy, 69 cases developed a fever that was resolved with antipyretics, dexamethasone or physical cooling, while 28 cases developed insomnia combined with excitement, 19 cases complained of anorexia, 11 cases complained of joint soreness, which was alleviated using analgesics, and 8 cases developed skin rashes. The combined use of CIK cells with a DC-based cancer vaccination strategy may be used to target innate and adaptive immune mechanisms and synergistically promote positive clinical outcomes. The therapy was safe and no serious adverse side-effects similar to those caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy were observed. The regimen may have a beneficial effect in the future treatment of patients with cancer.

Keywords: cancer; cytokine-induced killer; dendritic cell vaccine.