Soluble factors released by activated cytotoxic T lymphocytes interfere with death receptor pathways in neuroblastoma

Anna De Geer, Lena Maria Carlson, Per Kogner, Jelena Levitskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Neuroblastoma (NB) is often described as an unfavorable target for both HLA-restricted and death receptor-mediated elimination by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) due to low or absent HLA class I and caspase-8 expression. We investigated the effects of soluble factors released by CTLs activated by TCR triggering (named as activated supernatant; AS) on the levels and composition of cell surface molecules involved in HLA-restricted and HLA-independent NB cell recognition (surface immune phenotype). Using a panel of long-term propagated NB cell lines and freshly isolated primary human NB cells, we analyzed surface expression of the (1) cognate receptors for TNFα, Fas and TRAIL; (2) HLA class I and II heterodimers; (3) adhesion molecules; (4) the intracellular expression and activation of caspase-8, as well as (5) the susceptibility of NB cells to death receptor-mediated killing prior to and after exposure to AS. The exposure of NB cells to soluble factors released by activated CTLs skewed the surface immune phenotype of both long term cultured and primary NB cells, induced the expression and activation of caspase-8 and increased the susceptibility of tumor cells to lysis by TRAIL and Fas-agonistic antibody. Blocking experiments identified IFNγ and TNFα as main factors responsible for modulating the surface antigens of NB cells by AS. Our data suggest that recruitment of CTLs activated on third party targets into the vicinity of the NB tumor mass, may override the "silent" immune phenotype of NB cells via the action of soluble factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-743
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Immunology Immunotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Caspase-8
  • CTL
  • Cytokines
  • Death receptor
  • Neuroblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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