Rapid generation of antigen-presenting cells from leukaemic blasts in acute myeloid leukaemia

Theresia M. Westers, Anita G.M. Stam, Rik J. Scheper, Johanna C. Regelink, Aggie W.M. Nieuwint, Gerrit Jan Schuurhuis, Arjan A. Van De Loosdrecht, Gert J. Ossenkoppele*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The ability of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cells to acquire dendritic cell (DC)-like characteristics in vitro with a rapid culture method based either on the phorbol ester PMA or calcium ionophores has been studied in comparison to conventional AML-DC cultures with the cytokines granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-3 (IL-3), SCF, FLT3-L and IL-4. In all AML patients, antigen-presenting cells (APC) could be generated from leukaemic cells in 2 days by incubation with PMA or calcium ionophore (A23187 or ionomycin) in the presence as well as in the absence of IL-4. In 30 out of 36 patients APC could be generated after 2 weeks of culture in cytokine-enriched medium. AML-APC cultured with PMA or calcium ionophores immunophenotypically and functionally were at a more mature stage than those cultured in cytokine-enriched medium. The most mature APC were generated by calcium ionophore A23187 plus IL-4, as evidenced by the higher expression of CD40, CD80, CD86 and HLA-DR. Autologous T cell mediated cytotoxicity towards AML blast cells in vitro was observed in 2 cases tested. The persistence of cytogenetic abnormalities confirmed the leukaemic origin of the AML-APC. The generation of AML-APC was possible from freshly isolated as well as cryopreserved material. Our data show that generation of sufficient AML-APC by A23187 plus IL-4 is feasible, for vaccination purposes, in approximately 70% of AML specimens, offering a time-saving and cost-effective approach in preparing anti-leukaemia vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

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