Liver natural killer cell inoculum for liver transplantation with hepatocellular carcinoma

Seigo Nishida, David M. Levi, Andreas G. Tzakis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: Natural killer (NK) cells are innate immune lymphocytes. NK cells contribute to host antimicrobial and antitumor immunity. Liver transplantation in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has increased recently. The possibility of NK cell immunotherapy for liver cancer has been studied. Recent findings: Adoptive transfer of interleukin-2 (IL-2)-stimulated NK cells extracted from donor liver perfusate could increase an antitumor response without causing toxicity against 1-haplotype identical recipient intact tissues in patients with live donor liver transplant. Donor liver NK cells showed the most vigorous cytotoxicity against an HCC after in-vitro IL-2 stimulation, compared with donor and recipient peripheral blood NK cells and recipient liver NK cells. IL-2 stimulation led to an increased expression of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) on liver NK cells. T-cell contamination and risk of graft-versus-host disease can be minimized with a T-cell depleting agent such as anti-CD3 antibody. Summary: Allogeneic NK cells might have an advantage for adoptive immunotherapy. Liver NK cells from a deceased donor liver can be used safely as adoptive immunotherapy under current good manufacturing practice conditions for the treatment of liver transplantation with HCC. IL-2-stimulated liver NK cells have strong cytotoxicity, express TRAIL and secret interferon-γ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-694
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Organ Transplantation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • Adoptive immunotherapy
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver transplant
  • Natural killer cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation


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