Risk of leukemia relapse after T cell-depleted hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is lower in the "HLA-C mismatched" recipient-donor combinations. This might be attributable to increased natural killing by allogeneic NK cells carrying a KIR that does not bind to HLA-C on target cells (HLA-C-uncoupled KIR). Considering a new strategy of allogeneic NK cell transfer with rituximab to treat B-cell lymphomas, however, it is unknown whether the HLA-C matching status also affects rituximab-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). To address this issue, we investigated the levels of ADCC by purified NK cells carrying an HLA-C-uncoupled KIR, where the NK cell donors had either matched or mismatched HLA-C combination with target cells. Purified NK cells carrying an HLA-C-uncoupled KIR consistently showed enhanced ADCC against target cells when NK cell donors had an HLA-C-mismatch. When NK cell donors did not have an HLA-C mismatch, it was inconsistent whether HLA-C-uncoupled KIR caused ADCC enhancement. When the levels of ADCC by whole NK cells were compared, there were substantial differences among the donors regardless of the HLA-C matching status. Subjects with HLA-C mismatch may not have an advantage when cytoimmunotherapy using allogeneic NK cells is considered in combination with rituximab.
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