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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Induction of antitumor immunity by interleukin-2 gene-transduced mouse mammary tumor cells versus transduced mammary stromal fibroblasts.

BACKGROUND: Tumor cell-targeted cytokine gene transfer has been used to generate tumor cell vaccines, but this approach is limited by the need to establish and implant live tumor cells. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine if stromal fibroblasts could be used as an alternative vehicle for delivery of the cytokine interleukin-2 ( IL-2) into the tumor microenvironment. We attempted to establish the feasibility of (a) genetic immunotherapy in a mammary tumor system and (b) engineering stromal fibroblasts as well as tumor cells. We compared the effects of tumor cell-mediated and stromal fibroblast-mediated local IL-2 expression on the generation of antitumor immune responses. METHODS: Retroviral vectors containing a human IL-2 gene were used to transduce a mouse mammary tumor line, 4TO7, and an immortalized but nontumorigenic fibroblast line established from syngeneic mammary fatpads. Expression of the IL-2 gene in transduced cells was determined by measuring IL-2 secretion, by RNA-polymerase chain reaction, and by immunochemistry. Groups of 5-12 BALB/c mice were injected with either 4TO7 cells or various doses of IL-2-secreting 4TO7 cells (4TO7- IL-2); tumor growth was monitored. To test whether local IL-2 expression by transduced cells could influence the growth of unmodified tumor cells, we determined tumor development in groups of mice treated with 4TO7 cells co-injected with either 4TO7- IL-2 cells or IL-2-secreting fibroblasts. RESULTS: 4TO7- IL-2 cells induced active immunity able to reject the immunizing tumor and to resist challenge with parental 4TO7 cells on the contralateral side. Mice pretreated with 4TO7- IL-2 were significantly protected compared with untreated control animals or mice pretreated with irradiated 4TO7 cells. The immunity induced by 4TO7- IL-2 cells did not protect against challenge with another subline, 4T1, which was derived from the same spontaneously arising mammary tumor as 4TO7. Co-injection of 4TO7 cells with 4TO7- IL-2 cells reduced tumorigenicity, whereas co-injection of 4TO7 cells with IL-2 secreting fibroblasts did not. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that induction of anti-tumor immune response by local IL-2 production is most effective when the helper cytokine is secreted by the tumor cell. IMPLICATION: Our studies caution against the use of IL-2 gene-transduced syngeneic stromal cells as an alternative strategy of gene therapy for cancer. However, they may allow study of the mechanisms of tumor antigen recognition and the possible involvement of co-stimulatory signals for effective tumor vaccination by gene-modified cells.[1]


  1. Induction of antitumor immunity by interleukin-2 gene-transduced mouse mammary tumor cells versus transduced mammary stromal fibroblasts. Tsai, S.C., Gansbacher, B., Tait, L., Miller, F.R., Heppner, G.H. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. (1993) [Pubmed]
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