Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by an acquired immune dysfunction. CLL cells affect the phenotype and function of the entire spectrum of innate and adaptive immune cells, including monocytes, T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells, leading to a tumor-supportive environment and reduced immunosurveillance. Novel immunotherapies like immune checkpoint blockade, bi- and tri-specific antibodies, and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells use the patients’ immune system to induce therapeutic responses. Although these novel immunotherapies showed impressive results in several B cell lymphomas, responses in CLL were often disappointing. The strong immunomodulatory effect of CLL is believed to play a pivotal role in the low response rates to these immunotherapeutic strategies. In this review, we summarize how CLL influences the function of non-malignant lymphocytes, with a special focus on T and NK cells, two important cellular mediators for immunotherapy. Secondly, we provide a short overview of the activity of several immunotherapeutics in CLL, and discuss how novel strategies may overcome the disappointing response rates in CLL.
Hofland, T., Eldering, E., Kater, A. P., & Tonino, S. H. (2019). Engaging cytotoxic T and NK cells for immunotherapy in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(17), . https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20174315