J Cancer 2011; 2:443-457. doi:10.7150/jca.2.443

Review

Tumor Induced Inactivation of Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxic Function; Implication in Growth, Expansion and Differentiation of Cancer Stem Cells

Anahid Jewett, Han-Ching Tseng

The Jane and Jerry Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology, and Division of Oral Biology and Medicine, UCLA School of Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Abstract

Accumulated evidence indicates that cytotoxic function of immune effectors is largely suppressed in the tumor microenvironment by a number of distinct effectors and their secreted factors. The aims of this review are to provide a rationale and a potential mechanism for immunosuppression in cancer and to demonstrate the significance of such immunosuppression in cellular differentiation and progression of cancer. To that end, we have recently shown that NK cells mediate significant cytotoxicity against primary oral squamous carcinoma stem cells (OSCSCs) as compared to their more differentiated oral squamous carcinoma cells (OSCCs). In addition, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), Mesenchymal Stem Cells (hMSCs), dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) were all significantly more susceptible to NK cell mediated cytotoxicity than their differentiated counterparts or parental cells from which they were derived. We have also reported that inhibition of differentiation or reversion of cells to a less-differentiated phenotype by blocking NFκB or targeted knock down of COX2 in primary monocytes in vivo significantly augmented NK cell function. Total population of monocytes and those depleted of CD16(+) subsets were able to substantially prevent NK cell mediated lysis of OSCSCs, MSCs and DPSCs. Taken together, our results suggest that stem cells are significant targets of the NK cell cytotoxicity. The concept of split anergy in NK cells and its contribution to tissue repair and regeneration and in tumor resistance and progression will be discussed in this review.

Keywords: apoptosis, NFκB, NK, cancer stem cells, differentiation

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How to cite this article:
Jewett A, Tseng HC. Tumor Induced Inactivation of Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxic Function; Implication in Growth, Expansion and Differentiation of Cancer Stem Cells. J Cancer 2011; 2:443-457. doi:10.7150/jca.2.443. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v02p0443.htm