Natural killer cell function in children with malignant solid neoplasias

Soledad Gallego‐Melcón*, Teresa Español Boren, Jose Sanchez de Toledo, Jorge Prats Viñas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Natural killer (NK) cell numbers and lytic activity were determined in 40 children with various types of solid malignant neoplasias and in 25 control children by NKH‐1 monoclonal antibody and cytotoxicity against K562 target cells, respectively. Patients were analyzed at the time of diagnosis before initiation of therapy and followed over a median time of 15.8 months. Mean NK cell numbers and lytic activity were similar among different types of tumor analyzed. Patients with localized disease (stages I, II; n = 25) also showed values not statistically different from those of patients in advanced disease (stages III, IV; n = 15). According to their response to therapy, patients were divided into three groups: group 1 (complete remission; n = 28), group 2 (partial remission; n = 5), and group 3 (progression of disease; n = 6). Patients in group 3 showed at the time of diagnosis a mean NK activity significantly lower than that of patients in groups 1 and 2 and control children (P = 0.007). The defect in NK cell lytic capacity in vitro observed in patients with progressive disease suggests that NK cells play a role in the control of neoplasic growth in vivo and may imply that some children with refractory progressive disease can benefit from immu‐nomodulation destined to improve the lytic potential of NK cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • natural killer activity
  • NK cells
  • NKH‐1 antigen


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