Is there an opportunity for current chemotherapeutics to up-regulate MIC-A/B ligands?

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1 Scopus citations


Natural killer (NK) cells are critical effectors of the immune system. NK cells recognize unhealthy cells by specific ligands [e.g., MHC- class I chain related protein A or B (MIC-A/B)] for further elimination by cytotoxicity. Paradoxically, cancer cells down-regulate MIC-A/B and evade NK cell's anticancer activity. Recent data indicate that cellular-stress induces MIC-A/B, leading to enhanced sensitivity of cancer cells to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity. In this Perspective article, we hypothesize that current chemotherapeutics at sub-lethal, non-toxic dose may promote cellular-stress and up-regulate the expression of MIC-A/B ligands to augment cancer's sensitivity to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Preliminary data from two human breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and T47D treated with clinically relevant therapeutics such as doxorubicin, paclitaxel and methotrexate support the hypothesis. The goal of this Perspective is to underscore the prospects of current chemotherapeutics in NK cell immunotherapy, and discuss potential challenges and opportunities to improve cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number732
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - Oct 17 2017


  • Cancer
  • Doxorubicin
  • Immunotherapy
  • MIC-A/B
  • Natural killer cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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