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Gene Ther. 1999 Oct;6(10):1779-84.

Intratumoral injection of bone-marrow derived dendritic cells engineered to produce interleukin-12 induces complete regression of established murine transplantable colon adenocarcinomas.

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Departamento de Medicina Interna, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Navarra, C/Irunlarrea, 1, 31008 Pamplona, Spain.


Stimulation of the antitumor immune response by dendritic cells (DC) is critically dependent on their tightly regulated ability to produce interleukin-12 (IL-12). To enhance this effect artificially, bone marrow (BM)-derived DC were genetically engineered to produce high levels of functional IL-12 by ex vivo infection with a recombinant defective adenovirus (AdCMVIL-12). DC-expressing IL-12 injected into the malignant tissue eradicated 50-100% well established malignant nodules derived from the injection of two murine colon adenocarcinoma cell lines. Successful therapy was dependent on IL-12 transfection and was mediated only by syngeneic, but not allogeneic BM-derived DC, indicating that compatible antigen-presenting molecules were required. The antitumor effect was inhibited by in vivo depletion of CD8+ T cells and completely abrogated by simultaneous depletion with anti-CD4 and anti-CD8 mAbs. Mice which had undergone tumor regression remained immune to a rechallenge with tumor cells, showing the achievement of long-lasting systemic immunity that also was able to reject simultaneously induced concomitant untreated tumors. Tumor regression was associated with a detectable CTL response directed against tumor-specific antigens probably captured by DC artificially released inside tumor nodules. Our results open the possibility of similarly treating the corresponding human malignancies.

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