Purpose: Administration of 5 million alloreactive natural killer (NK) cells after low-dose chemo-irradiation cured mice of 4T1 breast cancer, supposedly dose dependent. We now explored the efficacy of bone marrow as alternative in vivo source of NK cells for anti-breast cancer treatment, as methods for in vitro clinical scale NK cell expansion are still in developmental phases.
Methods: Progression-free survival (PFS) after treatment with different doses of spleen-derived alloreactive NK cells to 4T1-bearing Balb/c mice was measured to determine a dose-response relation. The potential of bone marrow as source of alloreactive NK cells was explored using MHC-mismatched mice as recipients of 4T1. Chemo-irradiation consisted of 2× 2 Gy total body irradiation and 200 mg/kg cyclophosphamide. Antibody-mediated in vivo NK cell depletion was applied to demonstrate the NK cell's role.
Results: Administration of 2.5 instead of 5 million alloreactive NK cells significantly reduced PFS, evidencing dose responsiveness. Compared to MHC-matched receivers of subcutaneous 4T1, fewer MHC-mismatched mice developed tumors, which was due to NK cell alloreactivity because in vivo NK cell depletion facilitated tumor growth. Application of low-dose chemo-irradiation increased plasma levels of NK cell-activating cytokines, NK cell activity and enhanced NK cell-dependent elimination of subcutaneous tumors. Intravenously injected 4T1 was eliminated by alloreactive NK cells in MHC-mismatched recipients without the need for chemo-irradiation.
Conclusions: Bone marrow is a suitable source of sufficient alloreactive NK cells for the cure of 4T1 breast cancer. These results prompt clinical exploration of bone marrow transplantation from NK-alloreactive MHC-mismatched donors in patients with metastasized breast cancer.
Keywords: 4T1; Alloreactive NK cell; Breast cancer; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Immunotherapy.