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Role of natural killer cell subsets and natural cytotoxicity receptors for the outcome of immunotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia

Journal article
Authors Anna Martner
Anna Rydström
Rebecca E Riise
Johan Aurelius
H. Anderson
Mats Brune
R. Foa
Kristoffer Hellstrand
Fredrik Bergh Thorén
Published in Oncoimmunology
Volume 5
Issue 1
ISSN 2162-402X
Publication year 2016
Published at Sahlgrenska Cancer Center
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Language en
Keywords acute myeloid leukemia, immunotherapy, natural cytotoxicity receptors, natural killer cells, 1st complete remission, acute myelogenous leukemia, nk cells, histamine, dihydrochloride, recombinant interleukin-2, cytokine production, phase-3, trial, transplantation, maintenance, induction, Oncology, Immunology
Subject categories Immunology in the medical area


In a phase IV trial, 84 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) for 18 months to prevent leukemic relapse. During cycles, the treatment resulted in expansion of CD56(bright) (CD3 /16 /56(bright)) and CD16(+) (CD3 /16(+)/56(+)) natural killer (NK) cells in the blood along with increased NK cell expression of the natural cytotoxicity receptors (NCRs) NKp30 and NKp46. Multivariate analyses correcting for age and risk group demonstrated that high CD56(bright) NK cell counts and high expression of NKp30 or NKp46 on CD16(+) NK cells independently predicted leukemia-free survival (LFS) and overall survival (OS). Our results suggest that the dynamics of NK cell subsets and their NCR expression may determine the efficiency of relapse-preventive immunotherapy in AML.

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