Clinical Trials with Combination of Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells and Dendritic Cells for Cancer Therapy

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 3;20(17):4307. doi: 10.3390/ijms20174307.


Adoptive cellular immunotherapy (ACI) is a promising treatment for a number of cancers. Cytokine-induced killer cells (CIKs) are considered to be major cytotoxic immunologic effector cells. Usually cancer cells are able to suppress antitumor responses by secreting immunosuppressive factors. CIKs have significant antitumor activity and are capable of eradicating tumors with few side effects. They are a very encouraging cell population used against hematological and solid tumors, with an inexpensive expansion protocol which could yield to superior clinical outcome in clinical trials employing adoptive cellular therapy combination. In the last decade, clinical protocols have been modified by enriching lymphocytes with CIK cells. They are a subpopulation of lymphocytes characterized by the expression of CD3+ and CD56+ wich are surface markers common to T lymphocytes and natural killer NK cells. CIK cells are mainly used in two diseases: in hematological patients who suffer relapse after allogeneic transplantation and in patients with hepatic carcinoma after surgical ablation to eliminate residual tumor cells. Dendritic cells DCs could play a pivotal role in enhancing the antitumor efficacy of CIKs.

Keywords: Cytokine-induced killer cells; Dendritic cells; adoptive cellular immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells / metabolism*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism