Lymphokine‐activated killer cells were generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 33 patients with liver tumors (benign, 6; primary malignant, 10; metastatic, 17) and 10 healthy individuals. Although peripheral blood mononuclear cell yield was significantly lower (p < 0.01) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma or with metastatic colorectal cancer, natural killer activity in the peripheral blood mononuclear cell fraction was comparable in all groups tested. Optimal lymphokine‐activated killer activity was demonstrated after 9 to 12 days of culture in recombinant interleukin 2. Lymphokine‐activated killer activity, interleukin 2‐induced lymphocyte proliferation and total lytic activity generated per culture in all patient groups studied were similar to those of normal control cells cultured under the same conditions. These in vitro data demonstrate the feasibility of obtaining lymphokine‐activated killer cells from the blood of patients with liver tumors and provide a rationale for the future use of lymphokine‐activated killer cells in adoptive immunotherapy of patients with primary and metastatic hepatic neoplasms.
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