Approaches to Enhance Natural Killer Cell-Based Immunotherapy for Pediatric Solid Tumors

Aicha E. Quamine, Mallery R. Olsen, Monica M. Cho, Christian M. Capitini
2021 Cancers  
Treatment of metastatic pediatric solid tumors remain a significant challenge, particularly in relapsed and refractory settings. Standard treatment has included surgical resection, radiation, chemotherapy, and, in the case of neuroblastoma, immunotherapy. Despite such intensive therapy, cancer recurrence is common, and most tumors become refractory to prior therapy, leaving patients with few conventional treatment options. Natural killer (NK) cells are non-major histocompatibility complex
more » ... restricted lymphocytes that boast several complex killing mechanisms but at an added advantage of not causing graft-versus-host disease, making use of allogeneic NK cells a potential therapeutic option. On top of their killing capacity, NK cells also produce several cytokines and growth factors that act as key regulators of the adaptive immune system, positioning themselves as ideal effector cells for stimulating heavily pretreated immune systems. Despite this promise, clinical efficacy of adoptive NK cell therapy to date has been inconsistent, prompting a detailed understanding of the biological pathways within NK cells that can be leveraged to develop "next generation" NK cell therapies. Here, we review advances in current approaches to optimizing the NK cell antitumor response including combination with other immunotherapies, cytokines, checkpoint inhibition, and engineering NK cells with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for the treatment of pediatric solid tumors.
doi:10.3390/cancers13112796 fatcat:zlz57rgob5elnacma6uvkciafe