Expansion of cytotoxic effectors with lytic activity against autologous blasts from acute myeloid leukaemia patients in complete haematological remission

Giovanni F. Torelli, Anna Guarini, Gabriella Palmieri, Massimo Breccia, Antonella Vitale, Angela Santoni, Robin Foa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

New therapeutic approaches are needed to improve the cure rates in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The present study was designed to investigate whether: (1) cytotoxic lymphocytes could be expanded from AML patients in complete remission; (2) their signal transduction machinery was preserved; (3) these cells were capable of producing cytokines involved in the cytolytic process; and (4) these cells showed cytotoxic activity against allogeneic and autologous blasts. By co-culturing blood mononuclear cells with feeder cells, we obtained an average 5.3-fold increase in the total cell number and a 35-fold increase in natural killer (NK) cells. Expression of the ς chain and of tyrosine kinases of the Src and Syk-ZAP families involved in the triggering of NK functions was analysed on expanded cells. The results demonstrated a signal transduction apparatus preserved and quantitatively similar to that of normal donors. After phorbol myristate acetate and ionomicin stimulation, the ability of expanded cells to produce interferon γ and tumour necrosis factor α was documented. Patients' expanded cells showed a cytotoxic activity against target lines and allogeneic blasts which was similar to that of normal donors. Purification experiments indicated that the NK cell fraction was responsible for most of the lytic effect. More significantly, these cells also exerted a lytic effect against autologous blasts that could be further enhanced following incubation with low-dose interleukin 2. These findings document the possibility of expanding cytotoxic effectors with preserved signal transduction machinery and autologous killing capacity from AML patients in remission, and suggest a new potential immunotherapeutic strategy for the management of early disease recurrence or of residual disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-307
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Volume116
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • AML
  • Autologous killing
  • Immunotherapy
  • NK cell expansion
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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