Adoptive cellular immunotherapy has been proposed as an additional treatment of medulloblastoma, an intracranial tumor characterized by a particularly poor prognosis. However, little is known on the ability of the immune system to effectively attack this tumor. In this study, we show that activated human NK cells efficiently kill medulloblastoma cell lines in vitro. NK-mediated killing involved different activating receptors (including NKp46, NKp30, DNAM-1 and NKG2D) and correlated with the presence of their specific ligands on tumor cells. In contrast, the absence of major adhesion interactions, such as LFA-1/ICAM did not impair the NK-mediated cytotoxicity. Medulloblastoma expressed a number of tumor-associated molecules including CD146 and CD133, considered a marker for cancer stem cells. Remarkably, both CD133-positive and CD133-negative cell lines were susceptible to lysis. Tumor cells also expressed molecules that are currently used as diagnostic tools for neuroblastoma cell identification. In particular, B7 homolog 3 (B7-H3) was expressed by all the medulloblastoma cell lines analyzed, while the presence of GD2 and NB84 was restricted to given cell lines and/or marked a defined tumor cell subset.
- Activating NK receptors
- Ligands for activating NK receptors
- Natural killer cells
- Tumor markers
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