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Interleukin (IL)-15 as a stand-alone therapy can activate the antitumor functions of immune effector cells resulting in significant tumor regression. Interestingly, combining IL-15 with the α-moiety of its receptor (IL-15Rα), also called IL-15 transpresentation, increases the in vivo half-life of IL-15 and enhances binding of IL-15 with cells expressing the IL-15Rβγ, such as NK cells and CD8+ T cells. These features enlarge the signal transmission of IL-15, resulting in improved proliferation and antitumor activities of both NK cells and CD8+ T cells, eventually leading to enhanced killing of tumor cells. In this review, we discuss the antitumor strategies in which this IL-15 transpresentation mechanism is implemented, that are currently under preclinical investigation. Furthermore, we give an overview of the studies in which the IL-15/IL-15Rα complexes are combined with other antitumor therapies. The promising results in these preclinical studies have incited several clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of IL-15 transpresentation strategies to treat both hematological and advanced solid tumors. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Johan Mj Van den Bergh, Eva Lion, Viggo Fi Van Tendeloo, Evelien Ljm Smits. IL-15 receptor alpha as the magic wand to boost the success of IL-15 antitumor therapies: The upswing of IL-15 transpresentation. Pharmacology & therapeutics. 2017 Feb;170:73-79

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PMID: 27777088

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