Lymphokine activated killer cell is a newly described lytic system against a variety of solid tumours and is distinct in several respects from the classic cytolytic T cell and the natural killer systems. This study was conducted to evaluate the lytic activity of lymphokine activated killer cells against fresh autologous and allogeneic, as well as cultured hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Lymphokine activated killer cell was generated by incubating peripheral blood mononuclear cells with various concentrations of recombinant IL-2 (rIL-2, Cetus, USA) for various periods of time. A four hour 51Cr release assay was used to measure cytotoxicity. The results show that fresh and cultured hepatocellular carcinoma cells were only slightly susceptible to natural killer cells. Normal hepatocytes were resistant to lymphokine activated killer-mediated lysis. Lymphokine activated killer cells could be generated from mononuclear cells of hepatocellular carcinoma patients and normal subjects with lytic activity against fresh autologous and allogeneic and cultured hepatocellular carcinoma cells, but lymphokine activated killer cells from the former was less efficient than that from the latter. It is concluded that the adoptive immunotherapy with combined rIL-2 and lymphokine activated killer may be worth trying in early cases of primary hepatocellular carcinoma.
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