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J Immunol. 2001 Jun 15;166(12):7370-80.

Immunotherapy of melanoma: a dichotomy in the requirement for IFN-gamma in vaccine-induced antitumor immunity versus adoptive immunotherapy.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular and Tumor Immunology, Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, Providence Portland Medical Center, OR 97213, USA.


The mechanism by which tumors are rejected following the adoptive transfer of tumor-specific T cells is not well characterized. Recent work has challenged the requirement for cytotoxicity mediated by either the perforin/granzyme or Fas/Fas ligand pathway in T cell-mediated tumor regression. Many reports, including ours, suggest that tumor-specific production of IFN-gamma is critical for T cell-mediated tumor regression. However, in most of these studies the evidence to support the role for IFN-gamma is only indirect. We have directly examined the requirement for IFN-gamma using IFN-gamma knockout (GKO) mice. The results show an interesting dichotomy in the requirement for IFN-gamma: Antitumor immunity induced by active-specific immunotherapy (vaccination) required IFN-gamma, whereas adoptive immunotherapy did not. In GKO mice vaccination with the GM-CSF gene-modified B16BL6-D5 tumor (D5-G6) failed to induce protective immunity against parental D5 tumor. However, adoptive transfer of effector T cells from GKO mice cured 100% of GKO mice with established pulmonary metastases and induced long term antitumor immunity and depigmentation of skin. Furthermore, in vivo neutralization of IFN-gamma by mAb treatment or adoptive transfer into IFN-gamma receptor knockout mice failed to block the therapeutic efficacy of effector T cells generated from wild-type or perforin knockout mice. Analysis of regressing metastases revealed similar infiltrates of macrophages and granulocytes in both wild-type and GKO mice. These results indicate that in this adoptive immunotherapy model, neither a direct effect on the tumor nor an indirect effect of IFN-gamma through activation of myeloid or lymphoid cells is critical for therapeutic efficacy.

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