Does an NKT-cell-based immunotherapeutic approach have a future in multiple myeloma?

Mérédis Favreau, Karin Vanderkerken, Dirk Elewaut, Koen Venken and Eline Menu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:23128-23140. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7440

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Mérédis Favreau1,2, Karin Vanderkerken1, Dirk Elewaut2,*, Koen Venken2,* and Eline Menu1,*

1 Department of Hematology and Immunology, Myeloma Center Brussels, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium

2 Laboratory for Molecular Immunology and Inflammation, Department of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, VIB Inflammation Research Center and Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

* These authors have contributed equally in this work

Correspondence to:

Eline Menu, email:

Keywords: myeloma, NKT cells, tumor immunity

Received: October 05, 2015 Accepted: February 05, 2016 Published: February 17, 2016


Natural killer T (NKT) cells constitute a unique subset of innate-like T lymphocytes which differ from conventional T cells by recognizing lipid antigens presented by the non-polymorphic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) I-like molecule CD1d. Despite being a relatively infrequent population of lymphocytes, NKT cells can respond rapidly upon activation with glycosphingolipids by production of cytokines which aim to polarize different axes of the immune system. Due to their dual effector capacities, NKT cells can play a vital role in cancer immunity, infection, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. It is believed that modulation of their activity towards immune activation can be a useful tool in anti-tumor immunotherapeutic strategies. Here we summarize the characteristics of NKT cells and discuss their involvement in immunosurveillance. Furthermore, an update is given about their role and the progress that has been made in the field of multiple myeloma (MM). Finally, some challenges are discussed that are currently hampering further progress.

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