Identification of Anti-tumor Cells Carrying Natural Killer (NK) Cell Antigens in Patients With Hematological Cancers

Abstract : Natural killer (NK) cells, a cytotoxic lymphocyte lineage, are able to kill tumor cells in vitro and in mouse models. However, whether these cells display an anti-tumor activity in cancer patients has not been demonstrated. Here we have addressed this issue in patients with several hematological cancers. We found a population of highly activated CD56 dim CD16 + NK cells that have recently degranulated, evidence of killing activity, and it is absent in healthy donors. A high percentage of these cells expressed natural killer cell p46-related protein (NKp46), natural-killer group 2, member D (NKG2D) and killer inhibitory receptors (KIRs) and a low percentage expressed NKG2A and CD94. They are also characterized by a high metabolic activity and active proliferation. Notably, we found that activated NK cells from hematological cancer patients have non-NK tumor cell antigens on their surface, evidence of trogocytosis during tumor cell killing. Finally, we found that these activated NK cells are distinguished by their CD45RA + RO + phenotype, as opposed to non-activated cells in patients or in healthy donors displaying a CD45RA + RO − phenotype similar to naïve T cells. In summary, we show that CD45RA + RO + cells, which resemble a unique NK population, have recognized tumor cells and degranulate in patients with hemato-logical neoplasias.
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Ewelina Krzywinska, Nerea Allende-Vega, Amélie Cornillon, Dang-Nghiem Vo, Laure Cayrefourcq, et al.. Identification of Anti-tumor Cells Carrying Natural Killer (NK) Cell Antigens in Patients With Hematological Cancers. EBioMedicine, Elsevier, 2015, 2 (10), pp.1364 - 1376. ⟨10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.08.021⟩. ⟨inserm-01867114⟩

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