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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999 Mar 3;91(5):438-45.

Effect of in situ retroviral interleukin-4 transfer on established intracranial tumors.

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  • 1The Department of Surgery, The University of Melbourne, and The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.



Current therapies for malignant gliomas remain largely ineffective. We have previously demonstrated that interleukin 4 (IL-4) exhibits antitumorigenic activity in athymic nude mice by promoting both eosinophil infiltration and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels). In this study, we investigated treatment of established rat C6 cell gliomas by retroviral delivery of IL-4 in situ.


Tumors grown subcutaneously in athymic nude mice or implanted intracranially in immunocompetent Wistar rats were implanted with ecotropic retrovirus (i.e., will replicate only in cells of closely related species) packaging cells (RPCs) that were transfected with a retroviral vector encoding mouse IL-4 (1C5 cells) or a control vector (SV cells). For the demonstration of the long-term effects of such treatment, C6 cells were also implanted into the contralateral hemisphere of the brains of rats previously treated with 1C5 RPCs. Tumor volume measurements and immunohistochemical analyses were performed.


Implantation of 1C5 RPCs into subcutaneous C6 cell tumors resulted in tumor growth arrest that was associated with eosinophil infiltration and inhibition of angiogenesis. When 1C5 RPCs were stereotactically implanted into established intracranial tumors in rats, tumor volumes were dramatically smaller than in control animals (approximately 1.8 mm3 versus 70-80 mm3, respectively) 7 days after treatment. All 1C5 RPC-treated rats survived to 106 days after C6 cell implantation (99 days after treatment; an arbitrary end point), whereas control rats had to be killed 14 days after C6 cell implantation because of extensive tumor growth. Histologic analysis demonstrated that treated tumors were completely eradicated, and immunohistochemical analysis revealed an inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and infiltration by CD8+ cells and macrophages. C6 cells implanted contralaterally into the brains of long-term-surviving rats treated with 1C5 RPCs were also rapidly and completely rejected.


Implantation of packaging cells producing IL-4 retrovirus leads to rapid eradication of rat C6 cell gliomas and provides sustained protection against further intracranial challenge.

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