Lymphokine-activated killer cells selectively kill tumor cells in bone marrow without compromising bone marrow stem cell function in vitro Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Bone Marrow
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Killer Cells, Natural


  • Although it has been demonstrated that lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells kill tumor cells in a selective way without being toxic to a variety of normal cells, contradictory results exist about the possible toxicity of natural killer (NK) and LAK cells for hematopoietic progenitor cells. Therefore, the cytolytic activity and growth inhibitory effects of LAK cells on normal bone marrow progenitor cells and the ability of LAK cells to eliminate neoplastic hematopoietic cells from populations of bone marrow cells in vitro was studied. The results of these experiments show the following: (1) LAK cells have little cytolytic activity against normal bone marrow cells; (2) normal bone marrow cells fail to cold target compete for the killing of the hematopoietic tumor cell lines K562 and HL60 or freshly frozen acute myelocytic leukemia (AML) blast cells by LAK cells; (3) LAK cells inhibit the growth of K562 and HL60 to more than 90% in clonogenic assays; (4) LAK cells have no inhibitory effect on hematopoietic progenitor growth in CFU-GM (colony-forming unit-granulocytes, macrophages), CFU-E (colony-forming unit-erythrocytes), BFU-E (burst-forming units-erythrocytes), or CFU-GEMM (colony-forming unit-granulocytes, erythrocytes, macrophages, megakaryocytes) assays. These results indicate that LAK cells have low toxicity for normal bone marrow and that LAK activity against tumor cells is not adversely affected by the presence of normal bone marrow cells. The differences in cytolysis and growth inhibition of neoplastic hematopoietic cells and hematopoietic progenitor cells by LAK cells in vitro could create a therapeutic index that might allow the use of LAK cells for cleansing of the autologous bone marrow graft and for adjuvant therapy in combination with autologous bone marrow transplantation without compromising the reconstitution of the bone marrow in the host.

publication date

  • January 1989



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed ID

  • 2787676

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 354

end page

  • 60


  • 74


  • 1