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  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

Epirubicin sequential natural killer cells enhanced the cytotoxicity to breast cancer cells in vitro

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Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer20153 (Suppl 2) :P6

  • Published:


  • Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer Cell
  • Natural Killer
  • Breast Cancer Patient
  • Natural Killer Cell


Anthracycline-based chemotherapy is a conventional therapy for breast cancer patients, but also negatively affects host immune function. When the host immune system does not work, chemotherapy and radiotherapy cannot kill the cancer cells efficiently. Therefore, improve the host immune system is important for cancer efficient treatment. Meanwhile, natural killer (NK) cells are well known to boost the immune responses against cancer.


In this study, breast cancer cell lines were treated with anthracycline agent epirubicin (EPI) sequential with immune cells NK. NK cells in the study were amplified for 14 days in vitro from autologous adoptive cell transfer of breast cancer patients.


The cytotoxicity of NK cells against breast cancer cells with 12 hr EPI (5.0 μg/ml) pre-treatment was significantly higher than untreated or EPI alone. Thus, EPI sequential NK cells show the synergistic cytotoxicity effects against breast cancer cells. Moreover, breast cancer cells show increased expression of NKG2D ligands (ULBP1, ULBP2 and MICA) after treatment of EPI. Additionally, EPI sequential NK cells secret more IFN-γ and TNF-α as well as the increased expression of perforin and Granzyme B.


Our findings reveal possible evidence for how to combine anthracycline-based chemotherapy with NK cells biotherapy to make a better treatment.

Authors’ Affiliations

Cancer Center, The First Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, 130061 Jilin, China
Institute of Translational Medicine, The First Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, 130061 Jilin, China


© Song et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.