Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Natural Born Killers: NK Cells in Cancer Therapy

Version 1 : Received: 6 July 2020 / Approved: 7 July 2020 / Online: 7 July 2020 (17:44:06 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Franks, S.E.; Wolfson, B.; Hodge, J.W. Natural Born Killers: NK Cells in Cancer Therapy. Cancers 2020, 12, 2131. Franks, S.E.; Wolfson, B.; Hodge, J.W. Natural Born Killers: NK Cells in Cancer Therapy. Cancers 2020, 12, 2131.


Cellular therapy has emerged as an attractive option for the treatment of cancer, and adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) expressing T cells has gained FDA approval in hematologic malignancy. However, limited efficacy has been observed utilizing CAR-T therapy in solid tumors. Natural killer (NK) cells are crucial for tumor surveillance and exhibit potent killing capacity of aberrant cells in an antigen-independent manner. Adoptive transfer of unmodified allogeneic or autologous NK cells has shown limited clinical benefit due to factors including low cell number, low cytotoxicity and failure to migrate to tumor sites. To address these problems, immortalized and autologous NK cells have been genetically engineered to express high affinity receptors (CD16), CARs directed against surface proteins (PD-L1, CD19, Her2, etc.) and endogenous cytokines (IL-2 and IL-15) that are crucial for NK cell survival and cytotoxicity, with positive outcomes reported by several groups both preclinically and clinically. With a multitude of NK cell-based therapies currently in clinic trials, it is likely they will play a crucial role in next-generation cell therapy-based treatment. In this review we will highlight the recent advances and limitations of allogeneic, autologous and genetically enhanced NK cells used in adoptive cell therapy.


Natural killer cells; NK cells; adoptive cell transfer; NK-92; CAR-NK; haNK; t-haNK


Medicine and Pharmacology, Oncology and Oncogenics

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 7 July 2020
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: This has appeared without the included figures. They would help.
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