Control of metastasized pancreatic carcinomas in SCID/beige mice with human IL-2/TKD-activated NK cells

Stefan Stangl, Andreas Wortmann, Ulrich Guertler, Gabriele Multhoff

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48 Scopus citations


Pancreatic carcinoma, the fifth leading cause of cancer-related mortality, frequently presents the stress-inducible heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) on the cell membrane. Therefore, we explored an immunological approach exploiting the efficacy of NK cells activated either with low dose IL-2 plus Hsp70-peptide TKDNNLLGRFELSG (TKD; IL-2/TKD) or with IL-2 alone in a xenograft pancreatic carcinoma model. An orthotopic injection of either 2.5 × 106 or 1 × 106 Colo357 cells in SCID/beige mice resoled in rapidly growing primary tumors and the development of hepatic metastases on days 5 and 10, respectively. In line with results of in vitro migration assays, these NK cells also had the capacity to infiltrate pancreatic tumors and liver metastases in tumor-bearing mice. In vitro, a combined treatment of NK cells with IL-2/TKD but neither of the two treatments alone causes a profound increase in the lytic capacity against Hsp70 membrane-positive Colo357 cells. In vivo, a single i.v. injection of these NK cells on day 15 post-tumor inoculation resulted in a significant reduction in tamor weights, a delayed onset of hepatic metastases, and a prolonged life expectancy. In contrast, identically treated T cells and NK cells treated with IL-2 alone were significantly less efficient in controlling pancreatic tumors and metastases. Most importantly, four repeated i.v. infusions of IL-2/TKD-activated NK cells eradicated primary tumors and prevented hepatic metastases. In summary, our mouse data have implicated that NK cells pre-activated with IL-2/TKD might provide a novel therapeutic tool for the treatment of aggressive, Hsp70-positive pancreatic carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6270-6276
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 May 2006
Externally publishedYes


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