Clinical activity of adjuvant cytokine-induced killer cell immunotherapy in patients with post-mastectomy triple-negative breast cancer

Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Jun 1;20(11):3003-11. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-0082. Epub 2014 Mar 25.


Purpose: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a high risk form of this disease, even after surgery, due to the absence of targets for hormone treatment and anti-Her-2 therapy. Chemotherapy is the main therapeutic strategy for such patients with breast cancer, although the outcome is often unsatisfactory. Thus, the development of combination adjuvant therapies is essential for improved prognosis in patients with TNBC. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of a sequential combination of cytokine-induced killer cell (CIK) infusion and chemotherapy for patients with post-mastectomy TNBC.

Experimental design: From 2008 to 2012, 90 patients with post-mastectomy TNBC were included in this retrospective study: 45 cases received chemotherapy alone or with sequential radiotherapy; a further 45 cases received chemotherapy with/without radiotherapy and sequential CIK infusion.

Results: Survival analysis showed significantly higher disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) rates in the CIK treatment group compared with the control group (P = 0.0382, P = 0.0046, respectively; log-rank test). Multivariate survival analysis showed that CIK adjuvant treatment was an independent prognostic factor for OS of patients with TNBC. In subgroup analyses, CIK adjuvant treatment significantly increased the DFS rate of patients with pathologic grade 3, and significantly increased the OS rate of patients in N1, N2, N3, IIB, III TNM (tumor-node-metastasis) stages, and with pathologic grade 3.

Conclusions: These data indicate that adjuvant CIK treatment combined with chemotherapy is an effective therapeutic strategy to prevent disease recurrence and prolong survival of patients with TNBC, particularly those with lymph node metastasis, advanced TNM stage, and poor pathologic grade. Clin Cancer Res; 20(11); 3003-11. ©2014 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells / immunology*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Mastectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Radiotherapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents