Enhancing Neuroblastoma Immunotherapies by Engaging iNKT and NK Cells

Kevin O. McNerney, Spyridon A. Karageorgos, Michael D. Hogarty, Hamid Bassiri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extracranial solid tumor in children and, in the high-risk group, has a 5-year mortality rate of ~50%. The high mortality rate and significant treatment-related morbidities associated with current standard of care therapies belie the critical need for more tolerable and effective treatments for this disease. While the monoclonal antibody dinutuximab has demonstrated the potential for immunotherapy to improve overall NB outcomes, the 5-year overall survival of high-risk patients has not yet substantially changed. The frequency and type of invariant natural killer T cells (iNKTs) and natural killer cells (NKs) has been associated with improved outcomes in several solid and liquid malignancies, including NB. Indeed, iNKTs and NKs inhibit tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) and myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), kill cancer stem cells (CSCs) and neuroblasts, and robustly secrete cytokines to recruit additional immune effectors. These capabilities, and promising pre-clinical and early clinical data suggest that iNKT- and NK-based therapies may hold promise as both stand-alone and combination treatments for NB. In this review we will summarize the biologic features of iNKTs and NKs that confer advantages for NB immunotherapy, discuss the barriers imposed by the NB tumor microenvironment, and examine the current state of such therapies in pre-clinical models and clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number873
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - May 8 2020


  • cancer immunotherapy
  • immunotherapy
  • invariant natural killer T cells
  • natural killer cells
  • neuroblastoma
  • tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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