Patient's Natural Killer Cells in the Era of Targeted Therapies: Role for Tumor Killers

Front Immunol. 2017 Jun 12;8:683. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.00683. eCollection 2017.


Natural killer (NK) cells are potent antitumor effectors, involved in hematological malignancies and solid tumor immunosurveillance. They infiltrate various solid tumors, and their numbers are correlated with good outcome. The function of NK cells extends their lytic capacities toward tumor cells expressing stress-induced ligands, through secretion of immunoregulatory cytokines, and interactions with other immune cells. Altered NK cell function due to tumor immune escape is frequent in advanced tumors; however, strategies to release the function of NK infiltrating tumors are emerging. Recent therapies targeting specific oncogenic mutations improved the treatment of cancer patients, but patients often relapse. The actual development consists in combined therapeutic strategies including agents targeting the proliferation of tumor cells and others restorating functional antitumor immune effectors for efficient and durable efficacy of anticancer treatment. In that context, we discuss the recent results of the literature to propose hypotheses concerning the potential use of NK cells, potent antitumor cytotoxic effectors, to design novel antitumor strategies.

Keywords: AMLMDS; BRAF inhibitor; immune checkpoint inhibitors; melanoma; natural killer ligands; tumour immunosurveillance.