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Hum Cell. 2001 Sep;14(3):159-63.

[Current advances and expectations in tumor immunology].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Immunology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, 2-1-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan.


Natural killer (NK) cells and Interferon (IFN)-gamma have been implicated in immune surveillance against tumor. We demonstrated the critical role of perforin in NK cell-mediated cytotoxic activity and anti-tumor effect in IFN-gamma inducible IL-12. And, we recently reported that TRAIL is constitutively expressed on a substantial proportion of murine NK cells in the liver, and which is responsible for spontaneous cytotoxicity and the anti-metastatic activity against TRAIL-sensitive tumor cells along with perforin and Fas ligand. Interestingly, the TRAIL expression on liver NK cells appeared to be regulated by endogenously produced IFN-gamma. Consisting with this finding, IL-12 and NKT cell specific ligand, alpha-Galactosylceramide (alpha-GalCer), induced TRAIL-mediated cytotoxcity and anti-tumor effect, and which was mediated by TRAIL expressed on IFN-gamma-activated NK cells. Tumor necrosis factor(TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a type II transmembrane protein belonging to the TNF family, which preferentially induces apoptotic cell death in various tumor cells in vitro. Preclinical studies in mice and nonhuman primates have shown that administration of recombinant soluble forms of TRAIL could suppress the growth of TRAIL-sensitive tumor xenografts with no apparent systemic toxicity. These studies suggested a potential utility of TRAIL as a cancer therapeutic, although TRAIL expression at protein levels and its physiological roles in tumor surveillance has remained unknown. Presented findings provide the first evidence for the physiological function of TRAIL as a tumor suppressor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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