Infusion of haplo-identical killer immunoglobulin-like receptor ligand mismatched NK cells for relapsed myeloma in the setting of autologous stem cell transplantation
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Killer Cells, Natural
Killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)-ligand mismatched natural killer (NK) cells play a key role in achieving durable remission after haplo-identical transplantation for acute myeloid leukaemia. We investigated the feasibility of transfusing haplo-identical, T-cell depleted, KIR-ligand mismatched NK cells, after conditioning therapy with melphalan and fludarabine, to patients with advanced multiple myeloma (MM) followed by delayed rescue with autologous stem cells. No graft-versus-host disease or failure of autologous stem cells to engraft was observed. There was significant variation in the number of allo-reactive NK cells transfused. However, all NK products containing allo-reactive NK cells killed the NK cell target K562, the MM cell line U266, and recipient MM cells when available. Post NK cell infusion there was a rise in endogenous interleukin-15 accompanied by increasing donor chimaerism. Donor chimaerism was eventually lost, which correlated with the emergence of potent host anti-donor responses indicating that the immunosuppressive properties of the conditioning regimen require further optimization. Further, blocking of inhibitory KIR-ligands with anti-human leucocyte antigen antibody substantially enhanced killing of MM cells thus highlighting the potential for modulating NK/MM cell interaction. Encouragingly, 50% of patients achieved (near) complete remission. These data set the stage for future studies of KIR-ligand mismatched NK cell therapy in the autologous setting.