Copy number variations of HLA-I and activation of NKp30 pathway determine the sensitivity of gastric cancer cells to the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells

R. Xing, L. Li, L. Chen, Z. Gao, H. Wang, W. Li, J. Cui, G. Tian, Q. Liang, J. Yu, J. J. Sung, G. Luo, H. Gao, X. Xu, H. Yang, J. Wang, X. Zhang, J. M. Wang, J. Huang, Y. YuJ. Wang, Y. Lu

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Nude mice are important in vivo model for characterization of cell malignancy behavior; however, many cancer cells fail to form tumors in it. Understanding this defective mechanism may provide novel insights into tumorigenesis and how tumor cells escape innate immunity. Whole-genome sequencing was conducted on two gastric cancer (GC) cells, BGC823 and AGS, which do and do not form tumors in nude mice, to identify their genomic differences relevant to natural killer (NK) cells. We found that the tumorigenic capacity of human GC cell lines was dependent on the recruitment and activation of NK cells in xenograft tumors. We used whole-genome sequence (WGS) on GC cell lines to identify potential genes controlling susceptibility to NK-mediated killing. The tumorigenic cell line BGC823 expressed high levels of HLA-I because of copy gain and was resistant to NK cell killing. In contrast, another cell line AGS expressing low levels of HLA-I with activated NKp30/MAPK/IL-12 (interleukin-12) or IL-2 (interleukin-2) pathway was susceptible to NK lysis. Treatment of tumor bearing mice with systemic administration of IL-12 in combination with intratumor injection of anti-HLA-I antibody significantly increased NK cell recruitment into xenograft tumors, which became sensitive to NK killing, resulting in reduced tumor progression. In human GC specimens, decreased HLA-I expression and increased NK cells surrounding tumor cells were correlated with decreased metastasis potential and better prognosis of patients. Our results provide a mechanistic basis for GC cells to escape NK lysis and a promising prospect of NK immunotherapy for GC cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2584-2591
Number of pages8
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2016
Externally publishedYes

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