Natural killer (NK) cells mediate anti-lymphoma activity by spontaneous cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) when triggered by rituximab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (mAb) used to treat patients with B cell lymphomas. The balance of inhibitory and activating signals determines the magnitude of NK cell's efficacy by spontaneous cytoxicity. Here, using a killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) transgenic murine model, we show that blockade of the interface of inhibitory KIRs with MHC class I antigens on lymphoma by anti-KIR antibodies prevents a tolerogenic interaction and augments NK cell spontaneous cytotoxicity. In combination with anti-CD20 mAbs, anti-KIR treatment induces enhanced NK cell-mediated, rituximab-dependent cytotoxicity against lymphoma in vitro and in vivo in KIR transgenic and syngeneic murine lymphoma models. These results support a therapeutic strategy of combination, rituximab and KIR blockade through lirilumab, illustrating the potential efficacy of combining a tumor targeting therapy with an NK cell agonist thus stimulating the post-rituximab anti-lymphoma immune response.
View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2013-08-519199
View details for PubMedID 24326534