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, 219 (7), 547-53

hIL-15 Gene-Modified Human Natural Killer Cells (NKL-IL15) Augments the Anti-Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Effect in Vivo

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hIL-15 Gene-Modified Human Natural Killer Cells (NKL-IL15) Augments the Anti-Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Effect in Vivo

Wen Jiang et al. Immunobiology.

Abstract

Genetic modification of NK cells may provide new possibilities for developing effective cancer immunotherapy by improving NK cell function and specificity. We previously established human interleukin-15 (hIL-15) gene-modified NKL cells (NKL-IL15) and demonstrated their therapeutic efficiency against human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in vitro. To further assess the applicability of NKL-IL15 cells in adoptive cellular immunotherapy, we further investigated their natural cytotoxicity against HCC in vivo in the present study. NKL-IL15 cells exhibited strong inhibition on the growth of transplanted human HCC tumors in xenograft nude mouse models. Further investigation showed that NKL-IL15 cells expressed much higher levels of cytolysis-related molecules, including NKp80, TRAIL, granzyme B, IFN-γ, and TNF-α, than parental NKL cells in response to HCC stimulation. Moreover, soluble mediators secreted by NKL-IL15 cells decreased HCC cell proliferation; in particular, NKL-IL15-derived TNF-α and IFN-γ induced higher NKG2D ligand expression on target cells and resulted in the increased susceptibility of HCCs to NKL-mediated cytolysis. These results show that hIL-15 gene-modified human NK cells can augment the anti-tumor effect of NK cells on human HCC in vivo and suggest their promising applicability as a new candidate for adoptive immunotherapy against HCCs in the future.

Keywords: Gene transfer; Interleukin-15; Natural killer cell line; Natural killer cells.

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