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Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Nov 1;15(21):6602-8. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-0829. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Interferon-gamma-dependent infiltration of human T cells into neuroblastoma tumors in vivo.

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  • 1Division of Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



To investigate the impact of interferon-gamma-mediated upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class I expression on tumor-specific T-cell cytotoxicity and T-cell trafficking into neuroblastoma tumors in vivo.


Restoration of major histocompatibility complex class I expression by interferon-gamma treatment enhances killing of neuroblastoma cells. To understand the potential of this approach in vivo, we developed a novel model of neuroblastoma in which NOD/scid/IL2R gamma(null) immunodeficient mice are engrafted with both human T cells and tumor cells.


Here, we show enhanced killing of neuroblastoma cells by patient-derived, tumor-specific T cells in vitro. In addition, interferon-gamma treatment in vivo induces efficient upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class I expression on neuroblastoma tumor cells, and this is accompanied by significantly enhanced infiltration of T cells into the tumor. In a pilot clinical trial in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, we similarly observed augmented T-cell trafficking into neuroblastoma nests in tumor biopsy specimens obtained from patients after 5 days of systemic interferon-gamma therapy.


Interferon-gamma overcomes critical obstacles to the killing of human neuroblastoma cells by specific T cells. Together, these findings provide a rationale for the further testing of interferon-gamma as an approach for improving the efficacy of T cell-based therapies for neuroblastoma and other major histocompatibility complex class I-deficient malignancies. In addition, we describe a model that may expedite the preclinical screening of approaches aimed at augmenting T-cell trafficking into human tumors.

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