Short-term curative efficacy of cytokine-induced killer cells on hepatocellular carcinoma

Here is an abstract of a study published in Chinese Journal of Cancer in 2006. It came up with the conclusion that immunotherapy (Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells, CIK) play an important role in controlling the cancer cells, the rate of tumor recurrence was reduced. 


Recently, micro-invasive treatments showed well application prospective in treating primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), while tumor immunotherapy is a hot topic in tumor treatment. This study was to investigate the efficacy of cytokine-induced killer cells (CIK) combined micro-invasive treatments (transcatheter arterial chemoembolization and radiofrequency ablation) on the recurrence of HCC.


A total of 85 HCC patients without active lesions and metastasis, which were displayed by imaging examination after transcatheter arterial chemoembolization and radiofrequency ablation therapy, were divided randomly into 2 groups: 45 in study group, and 40 in control group. The patients in study group were transfused with CIK cells through hepatic artery after micro-invasive treatments, while the patients in control group were not. The levels of T lymphocyte subsets and native killer (NK) cells in peripheral blood of HCC patients before and after CIK cell transfusion were detected by flow cytometry (FCM). Tumor condition was observed by CT scanning every 2-3 months.

The percentages of CD3+, CD4+, and CD56+ effect cells and the proportion of CD4+/CD8+ were increased from (68.6+/-11.0)%, (31.0+/-9.0)%, (15.6+/-7.8)%, and 1.1+/-0.5 to (70.7+/-10.1)% (P<0.05), (33.5+/-8.0)% (P<0.05), (18.4+/-9.4)% (P<0.05), and 1.3+/-0.6 (P<0.05) after CIK cell transfusion; while the percentages of CD8+ and CD3+ CD56+ cells were decreased from (31.1+/-7.8)% and (6.4+/-3.5)% to (28.6+/-8.3)% (P<0.05) and (5.2+/-3.3)% (P<0.05). The 1- and 1.5-year recurrence rates were 8.89% and 15.56% in study group, and 30.00% and 40.00% in control group (Chi(2) = 4.87 and 6.41, P <0.05).

CIK cell transfusion after micro-invasive treatments may improve the immunologic function in HCC patients, and play an important role in reducing the recurrence rate of HCC.

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