NK Cell Activation in the Antitumor Response Induced by IFN-α Dendritic Cells Loaded with Apoptotic Cells from Follicular Lymphoma Patients

PMID: 27357153
Journal: Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) (volume: 197, issue: 3, J. Immunol. 2016 08;197(3):795-806)
Published: 2016-06-29

Lapenta C, Donati S, Spadaro F, Castaldo P, Belardelli F, Cox MC, Santini SM


Follicular lymphoma (FL) is the most common form of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This malignancy is considered virtually incurable, with high response rates to therapy but frequent relapses. We investigated the ability of monocyte-derived dendritic cells generated in the presence of IFN-α and GM-CSF (IFN-DC) and loaded with apoptotic lymphoma cells to activate immune responses against FL cells, with the ultimate goal of designing novel patient-specific vaccination strategies for the treatment of FL. In this article, we show that apoptotic tumor cell-loaded IFN-DC from FL patients, which were cultured for 2 wk with autologous lymphocytes, led to Th1 response skewing, based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ production and a remarkable increase in CD8(+) and NK cell frequency, consistent with the detection of enhanced cytotoxic effector function toward autologous FL cells. IFN-DC were found to promote efficient NK cell activation, increased expression of cytotoxicity receptors, and extensive IFN-γ production in the virtual absence of IL-10. Moreover, direct recognition and killing of primary autologous lymphoma cells by activated NK cells from FL patients was also demonstrated. A critical role was demonstrated for MHC class I-related chain A and B and membrane-bound IL-15 in IFN-DC-mediated NK cell activation and early IFN-γ production. The overall results indicate that IFN-DC loaded with autologous apoptotic FL cells represent a valuable tool for improving the potency of therapeutic cancer vaccines through the efficient induction of NK cell activation and promotion of CD8(+) T cell antitumor immunity.