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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 May;84(10):3405-9.

Interferon gamma induces lung colonization by intravenously inoculated B16 melanoma cells in parallel with enhanced expression of class I major histocompatibility complex antigens.


Treatment of H-2-deficient nonmetastatic B16 melanoma cells with physiological doses of interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) reduced cellular growth in vitro but induced a shift to the lung-colonizing phenotype as assessed after intravenous injection of the treated cells. As little as 1 antiviral unit of recombinant IFN-gamma per ml induced B16 cells to form 3-40 pulmonary metastases in each injected mouse, whereas a 1000-fold higher concentration of IFN-beta was required to see similar effects. IFN-gamma may induce cell-surface molecules that contribute to the metastatic ability of the tumor cells. The efficient enhancement of metastatic ability after IFN-gamma treatment of the B16 cells was paralleled by an increased H-2 antigen expression and decreased sensitivity to natural killer cells. The experiments support the idea that metastasis may not depend exclusively on stable genetic changes or heterogeneity within a tumor population but may be also influenced through the modulation of the phenotype by physiological or pharmacological agents. The results are also discussed with regard to the role of different effector cells in tumor cell clearance and in relation to lymphokine-based strategies for therapy.

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