KIR receptor-ligand incompatibility predicts killing of osteosarcoma cell lines by allogeneic NK cells

David Delgado, Daniel E. Webster, Kenneth B. DeSantes, Emily T. Durkin, Aimen F. Shaaban*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: The effectiveness of killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) incompatible, alloreactive natural killer (NK) cells has been primarily documented in hematological malignancies following stem-cell transplant. This effect has not been thoroughly evaluated for pediatric solid tumors. In this study, we evaluated KIR receptor-ligand incompatibility of NK cells against osteosarcoma cell lines. Procedure: Following the KIR receptor-ligand mismatch model, MHC I cell surface expression and KIR ligand mRNA content of 3 osteosarcoma cell lines was determined by flow cytometry and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), respectively. NK cells were isolated from healthy volunteer donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and KIR surface expression determined by flow cytometry. An Annexin-V based flow cytometric killing assay was used to determine % of dying osteosarcoma target cells by donor NK effector cells. Results: One of seven healthy volunteer donors tested lacked phenotypic expression of one KIR. However, variable expression of KIR ligands was observed in 3 osteosarcoma cell lines. The highest rates of dying cells were seen in osteosarcoma cells with the lowest KIR ligand expression. Following down-regulation of KIR ligand expression, an increased susceptibility to NK cell-mediated killing was observed in a previously NK-resistant osteosarcoma cell line. Conclusions: Variable MHC I and KIR ligand expression was observed in osteosarcoma cell lines and this resulted in variable susceptibility to NK cell-mediated killing predicted by the degree of KIR receptor-ligand incompatibility. Collectively, these data provide rationale for the study of KIR incompatible stem-cell transplant for osteosarcoma, although further studies with fresh osteosarcoma samples are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1300-1305
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Immunotherapy
  • KIR
  • NK cells
  • Osteosarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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