Checkpoint inhibitors and engineered cells: new weapons for natural killer cell arsenal against hematological malignancies.
- Tumor Immunotherapy and Microenvironment
Natural killer (NK) cells represent one of the first lines of defense against malignant cells. NK cell activation and recognition are regulated by a balance between activating and inhibitory receptors, whose specific ligands can be upregulated on tumor cells surface and tumor microenvironment (TME). Hematological malignancies set up an extensive network of suppressive factors with the purpose to induce NK cell dysfunction and impaired immune-surveillance ability. Over the years, several strategies have been developed to enhance NK cells-mediated anti-tumor killing, while other approaches have arisen to restore the NK cell recognition impaired by tumor cells and other cellular components of the TME. In this review, we summarize and discuss the strategies applied in hematological malignanciesto block the immune check-points and trigger NK cells anti-tumor effects through engineered chimeric antigen receptors.