Melanoma research

In-vitro activation of natural killer cells from regional lymph nodes of melanoma patients with interleukin-2 and interleukin-15.

PMID 25380182


Regional lymph nodes (LNs) represent the first barrier in lymphogenic tumor dissemination in melanoma. Natural killer (NK) cells, the effector cell subpopulation of the innate immune system, are in the first line of antitumor immune defense. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-15, two cytokines with similar immune-enhancing effects, on antitumor cytotoxic function and immunophenotype of NK cells from regional LNs of melanoma patients. Mononuclear cells purified from regional LNs of 50 melanoma patients in clinical stage II-IV were treated in vitro for 72 h and 7 days with 200 IU/ml rhIL-2 and 25 ng/ml IL-15 at 37°C in 5% CO2. Both cytokines significantly augmented NK cell cytotoxic activity, transcription of the cytotoxic molecule perforin, and the level of functionally mature perforin in both nonmetastatic and metastatic regional LNs. IL-2 treatment increased the percentage of CD3CD56 NK cells by increasing the CD56 NK cell subset in both nonmetastatic and metastatic LNs, whereas IL-15 treatment did not affect the percentage of NK cells and their subsets. Both cytokines increased on NK cells from nonmetastatic and metastatic LNs the expression of CD69 early activation antigen, the NKG2D activating receptor, as well as CD16 and inhibitory killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor CD158b, both inherent to the mature and the cytotoxic NK cell phenotype. In conclusion, our data may indicate the therapeutic potential of the NK cell population from regional LNs either as immunotherapeutic targets or as adoptively transferred after activation with IL-2 or IL-15.