Enhanced Antimetastatic Activity of Lymphokine-activated Killer Cells Purified and Expanded by Their Adherence to Plastic

R. E. Schwarz, N. L. Vujanovic, J. C. Hiserodt

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80 Scopus citations


We have recently reported a simple and reproducible technique for the purification and rapid expansion of homogeneous populations of large granular lymphocytes expressing a natural killer cell phenotype and high levels of broad antitumor cytotoxic activity (lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) activity). This technique exploits the observation that, in the presence of recombinant interleukin 2 (rIL-2), large granular lymphocytes/natural killer cells become adherent to plastic surfaces, actively proliferate, and acquire high levels of LAK activity. Because of their adherent properties these cells have been termed adherent LAK or A-LAK cells. The present studies investigate the antimetastatic effects of A-LAK cells in a syngeneic rat model of experimental pulmonary and hepatic metastases. For pulmonary metastases, F344 rats received i.v. injections with a natural killer-resistant mammary adenocarcinoma, MADB106, and, for hepatic metastases, animals received an intrasplenk injection of MADB106 tumor cells followed by surgical splenectomy. Three days later, the animals were treated with A-LAK cells alone, A-LAK cells plus rIL-2, or rIL-2 alone. These treatments were compared to immunotherapy using standard cultures of LAK cells (unfractionated spleen cells) and rIL-2. The results indicate that the administration of unfractionated LAK cells plus interleukin 2 (IL-2) was effective in reducing established lung or liver metastases in this rat model. However, the results also indicate that purified populations of A-LAK cells in combination with rIL-2 demonstrate dramatic and superior antimetastatic effects when compared to LAK cells cultured under standard conditions. The antimetastatic effects of standard LAK cells or A-LAK cells plus IL-2 translated into significant survival benefits compared to animals receiving no therapy or IL-2 therapy alone. Survival after therapy with A-LAK cells plus IL-2 was significantly prolonged compared to treatment with standard LAK cells. These data suggest that purified populations of LAK cells (derived from natural killer cells) may prove superior for adoptive immunotherapy in the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1446
Number of pages6
JournalCancer research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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