Factors determining the ability of cytokine-activated killer cells to lyse human ovarian carcinoma targets
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Lysis of human ovarian carcinoma cells by natural killer (NK) cells, interferon-alpha activated NK cells (alpha-NK) and lymphokine-activated killers cells (LAK) was studied using both fresh tumor cells and a cell line (HEY) as targets. A clonogenic assay to measure cell kill was more sensitive than a 4-h 51Cr release assay. Both assays showed that single cells were more effectively lysed than were tumor clumps (spheroids). Freshly isolated tumor cells studied in the 51Cr release assay appeared equally susceptible to lysis by LAK cells whether in the form of clumps or single cells, but NK and alpha-NK effectors appeared much less effective in lysing susceptible target cells when they were in clumps. Tumor cells from some patients showed marked resistance to lysis by NK and alpha-NK cells in fractions enriched for clonogenic cells, even when tested in a single cell-suspension, whereas LAK cells were always cytolytic. These data suggest that intrinsic resistance of ovarian carcinoma to lysis by LAKs is unlikely to explain failure of LAK + IL-2 therapy to eradicate tumor in vivo.
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