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NK cell expression of natural cytotoxicity receptors may determine relapse risk in older AML patients undergoing immunotherapy for remission maintenance.

Journal article
Authors Anna Martner
Anna Rydström
Rebecca E Riise
Johan Aurelius
Mats Brune
Robin Foà
Kristoffer Hellstrand
Fredrik Bergh Thorén
Published in Oncotarget
Volume 6
Issue 40
Pages 42569-74
ISSN 1949-2553
Publication year 2015
Published at Sahlgrenska Cancer Center
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Pages 42569-74
Language en
Subject categories Cancer and Oncology, Radiology


In a phase IV trial, eighty-four patients (age 18-79) with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in first complete remission (CR) received cycles of immunotherapy with histamine dihydrochloride (HDC) and low-dose human recombinant interleukin-2 (IL-2) to prevent relapse in the post-consolidation phase. Aspects of natural killer (NK) cell biology were analyzed before and during immunotherapy with focus on outcome in older patients. In younger (<60 years old, n = 37) and older patients (>60 years old, n = 47), treatment with HDC/IL-2 resulted in an expansion of CD56bright and CD16+ NK cells in blood along with an increased NK cell expression of the natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCR) NKp30 and NKp46. In older patients, a high expression of NKp30 or NKp46 on CD16+ NK cells before and during therapy predicted leukemia-free and overall survival. These results suggest that NK cell functions determine relapse risk and survival in older AML patients and point to biomarkers of efficacy in protocols for remission maintenance.

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