: Natural killer cells (NK) are innate lymphocytes endowed with the ability to recognize and kill cancer cells. Consequently, adoptive transfer of autologous or allogeneic NK cells represents a novel opportunity in cancer treatment that is currently under clinical investigation. However, cancer renders NK cells dysfunctional, thus restraining the efficacy of cell therapies. Importantly, extensive effort has been employed to investigate the mechanisms that restrain NK cell anti-tumor function, and the results have offered forthcoming solutions to improve the efficiency of NK cell-based therapies. The present review will introduce the origin and features of NK cells, summarize the mechanisms of action and causes of dysfunction of NK cells in cancer, and frame NK cells in the tumoral microenvironment and in the context of immunotherapies. Finally, we will discuss therapeutic potential and current limitations of NK cell adoptive transfer in tumors.

NK Cells in Cancer: Mechanisms of Dysfunction and Therapeutic Potential

Di Mitri, Diletta
2023-01-01

Abstract

: Natural killer cells (NK) are innate lymphocytes endowed with the ability to recognize and kill cancer cells. Consequently, adoptive transfer of autologous or allogeneic NK cells represents a novel opportunity in cancer treatment that is currently under clinical investigation. However, cancer renders NK cells dysfunctional, thus restraining the efficacy of cell therapies. Importantly, extensive effort has been employed to investigate the mechanisms that restrain NK cell anti-tumor function, and the results have offered forthcoming solutions to improve the efficiency of NK cell-based therapies. The present review will introduce the origin and features of NK cells, summarize the mechanisms of action and causes of dysfunction of NK cells in cancer, and frame NK cells in the tumoral microenvironment and in the context of immunotherapies. Finally, we will discuss therapeutic potential and current limitations of NK cell adoptive transfer in tumors.
2023
NK cells
immunotherapy
tumor microenvironment
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11699/80146
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