Cancer immunology, immunotherapy : CII

CXCL10-induced migration of adoptively transferred human natural killer cells toward solid tumors causes regression of tumor growth in vivo.

PMID 25344904


Adoptive infusion of natural killer (NK) cells is being increasingly explored as a therapy in patients with cancer, although clinical responses are thus far limited to patients with hematological malignancies. Inadequate homing of infused NK cells to the tumor site represents a key factor that may explain the poor anti-tumor effect of NK cell therapy against solid tumors. One of the major players in the regulation of lymphocyte chemotaxis is the chemokine receptor chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 3 (CXCR3) which is expressed on activated NK cells and induces NK cell migration toward gradients of the chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand (CXCL9, 10 and 11). Here, we show that ex vivo expansion of human NK cells results in a tenfold increased expression of the CXCR3 receptor compared with resting NK cells (p = 0.04). Consequently, these NK cells displayed an improved migratory capacity toward solid tumors, which was dependent on tumor-derived CXCL10. In xenograft models, adoptively transferred NK cells showed increased migration toward CXCL10-transfected melanoma tumors compared with CXCL10-negative wild-type tumors, resulting in significantly reduced tumor burden and increased survival (median survival 41 vs. 32 days, p = 0.03). Furthermore, administration of interferon-gamma locally in the tumor stimulated the production of CXCL10 in subcutaneous melanoma tumors resulting in increased infiltration of adoptively transferred CXCR3-positive expanded NK cells. Our findings demonstrate the importance of CXCL10-induced chemoattraction in the anti-tumor response of adoptively transferred expanded NK cells against solid melanoma tumors.

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