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Lenalidomide enhances natural killer cell and monocyte-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity of rituximab-treated CD20+ tumor cells

Wu, L.; Adams, M.; Carter, T.; Chen, R.; Muller, G.; Stirling, D.; Schafer, P.; Bartlett, J.B.

Clinical Cancer Research An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 14(14): 4650-4657

2008


ISSN/ISBN: 1078-0432
PMID: 18628480
DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-07-4405
Accession: 056986761

Lenalidomide has significant activity in myelodysplastic syndromes, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). In previous studies, natural killer (NK) cell expansion by lenalidomide was shown to enhance the cytotoxic effect of rituximab. This study assessed the ability of lenalidomide to enhance antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) in rituximab-treated NHL cell lines and primary tumor cells from patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) in vitro. An in vitro ADCC system was used to assess the ability of lenalidomide to enhance human NK cell and monocyte function in response to rituximab. Lenalidomide directly enhanced IFN-gamma production via Fc-gamma receptor-mediated signaling in response to IgG. It was also a potent enhancer of NK cell-mediated and monocyte-mediated tumor cell ADCC for a variety of rituximab-treated NHL cell lines in vitro, an effect that was dependent on the presence of antibody and either interleukin-2 or interleukin-12. Lenalidomide also enhanced the ability of NK cells to kill primary tumor cells derived from three patients with B-CLL who have been treated previously with fludarabine plus cyclophosphamide. Enhanced NK cell ADCC was associated with enhanced granzyme B and Fas ligand expression and could be inhibited by a granzyme B inhibitor and partially inhibited by antibody to FasL. Enhanced NK cell Fc-gamma receptor signaling is associated with enhanced phosphorylated extracellular signal-related kinase levels leading to enhanced effector function. These findings suggest that lenalidomide has the potential to enhance the rituximab-induced killing of NHL cell lines and primary B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells via a NK cell-mediated and monocyte-mediated ADCC mechanism in vitro, providing a strong rationale for the combination of lenalidomide with IgG1 antibodies to target tumor-specific antigens in patients with cancer.

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