Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has been used as a part of cancer therapy for over half a decade. Beyond the necessity for donor-derived cells to reconstitute hematopoiesis after radiation and chemotherapy, immunologic reconstitution from allogeneic cells is important for the elimination of residual tumor cells. Natural killer (NK) cells are first among lymphocytes to reconstitute post-transplant and protect against cancer relapse. In this review, we provide a historical perspective on the role of NK cells in cancer control in the transplant setting and focus on current research aimed at improving NK cell responses for therapeutic benefit.
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.