How the immune system attacks medulloblastoma (MB) tumors effectively is unclear, although natural killer (NK) cells play an important role in immune defense against tumor cells. Interactions between receptors on NK cells and ligands expressed by tumor cells are critical for tumor control by immunotherapy. In this study, we analyzed tumor samples from 54 MB patients for expression of major histocompatibility complex class I-related chains A (MICA) and UL16 binding protein (ULPB-2), which are ligands for the NK group 2 member D activatory receptor (NKG2D). The percentage of MICA and ULBP-2 positive cells was higher than 25% in 68% and 6% of MB patients, respectively. A moderate-high intensity of MICA cytoplasmic staining was observed in 46% MB patients and weak ULBP-2 staining was observed in 8% MB patients. No correlation between MICA/ULBP-2 expression and patient outcome was found. We observed that HTB-186, a MB cell line, was moderately resistant to NK cell cytotoxicity in vitro. Blocking MICA/ULBP-2 on HTB-186, and NKG2D receptor on NK cells increased resistance to NK cell lysis in vitro. However, HLA class I blocking on HTB-186 and overnight incubation with IL-15 stimulated NK cells efficiently killed tumor cells in vitro. We conclude that although NKG2D/MICA-ULBP-2 interactions have a role in NK cell cytotoxicity against MB, high expression of HLA class I can protect MB from NK cell cytotoxicity. Even so, our in vitro data indicate that if NK cells are appropriately stimulated, they may have the potential to target MB in vivo.
Keywords: natural killer cells, medulloblastoma, NKG2D ligands, NKG2D receptor, HLA-I
Citation: Fernández L, Portugal R, Valentín J, Martín R, Maxwell H, González-Vicent M, Díaz MÁ, de Prada I and Pérez-Martínez A (2013) In vitro natural killer cell immunotherapy for medulloblastoma. Front. Oncol. 3:94. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00094
Received: 27 December 2012; Accepted: 05 April 2013;
Published online: 19 April 2013.
Edited by:Douglas Hawkins, Seattle Children’s Hospital, USA
Reviewed by:Sean J. Hipp, San Antonio Military Medical Center, USA
Copyright: © 2013 Fernández, Portugal, Valentín, Martín, Maxwell, González-Vicent, Díaz, de Prada and Pérez-Martínez. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Antonio Pérez-Martínez, Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús, Servicio de Hemato-Oncología y Trasplante Hematopoyético, Av. Menéndez Pelayo 65, Madrid 28009, Spain. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org