Antitumor activity of human umbilical cord blood cells: A comparative analysis with peripheral blood and bone marrow cells

S. S. Joshi, N. N. Babushkina-Patz, D. J. Verbik, T. G. Gross, S. R. Tarantolo, C. A. Kuszynski, S. J. Pirruccello, M. R. Bishop, A. Kessinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Although the hematopoietic reconstituting ability of human umbilical cord blood cells (UCBC) is well documented, their antitumor cytotoxic potential has not been well studied. Therefore, UCBC were compared to normal peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) and bone marrow (BM) stem cell harvests for cytomorphology, antitumor cytotoxic activity before and after ex vivo cytokine manipulation, response to T and B cell mitogens, expression of adhesion molecules and immunophenotypes using flow cytometry, cytokine production and in vivo antitumor activity. BM and PBSC, but not UCBC, did not form cellular clusters in culture. More cytotoxic granules were present in the cytoplasm of UCBC than PBSC following activation in vitro. Ex vivo manipulation of UCBC with cytokines produced more cytotoxicity to K562 and Raji tumor cells than PBSC or BM (p<0.001). Most cytotoxic cells in UCBC cultures were T lymphocytes, and a correlation existed between the number of CD56+ cells and cytotoxicity levels, particularly after in vitro activation with interleukin-2. No significant difference in adhesion molecule expression was noted among UCBC PBSC and BM cells. However, there was a significantly decreased expression of CD54 molecules (ICAM) on UCBC compared to PBSC (p<0.05). IL-2 activated UCBC showed significant antitumor effects against K562 leukemic cells grown in SCID mice. Thus UCBC contained more antitumor effector cells and precursors than cells from marrow or peripheral blood cells which might be capable of providing a therapeutic effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-799
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • Antitumor activity
  • Bone marrow cells
  • Peripheral blood
  • Umbilical cord blood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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