Background: In pediatric sarcomas, outcomes of established therapies still remain poor, especially due to high-grade resistances to chemotherapeutic compounds. Taking novel biological approaches into account, virotherapy was found to be efficient in many pediatric sarcoma types. Also NK cell therapy was denoted to represent a promising upcoming strategy for pediatric sarcoma patients. We here investigated a combinatorial approach employing oncolytic measles vaccine virotherapeutics (MeV) together with activated human NK cells (or PBMCs).
Methods: The human sarcoma cell lines A673 and HT1080 were used to evaluate the efficacy of this combinatorial treatment modality. Oncolysis was determined by measuring real-time cell proliferation using the xCELLigence RTCA SP system. Furthermore, expression of receptors on NK cells and the respective ligands on A673 cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. To measure the protein release of activated NK cells a LEGENDplex™ assay was performed.
Results: Monotherapy with MeV led to a time- and dose-dependent oncolytic reduction of A673 and HT1080 sarcoma tumor cell masses. Concurrently, such MeV infections did not change the expression of NK cell ligands MICA/B, ULBP1, 2, and 3, CD112, and CD155. As shown by real-time proliferation assays, infections of A673 and HT1080 sarcoma cells with MeV followed by co-culture with activated NK cells or PBMCs led to enhanced sarcoma cell destruction when compared to the respective monotherapies. In parallel, this dual therapy resulted in an increased release of granzymes, perforin, and granulysin from NK cells. In contrast, expression of activation and ontogenesis receptors on NK cells was not found to be altered after co-culture with MeV-infected A673 sarcoma cells.
Conclusions: Taken together, the combined treatment strategy comprising oncolytic MeV and activated NK cells resulted in enhanced oncolysis of A673 and HT1080 cells when compared to the respective monotherapies. In parallel, we observed an increased release of NK cell activation markers upon co-culture with MeV-infected A673 human sarcoma cells. These results support the onset of clinical trials combining oncolytic virotherapy with NK cell based immunotherapies.
Keywords: Immunotherapy; Measles vaccine virus; NK cells; Pediatric sarcoma; Virotherapy.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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