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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2002 Apr;13(2):111-8.

Endogenous type I interferons as a defense against tumors.

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INSERM U255-Institut Curie, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris Cedex 05, France.


We have reviewed the experimental results which indicate that endogenous type I interferon (IFN) present either constitutively or possibly induced by the tumor plays an important role in limiting the development of transplantable tumors in mice. Thus, treatment with potent polyclonal neutralizing antibodies to IFN alpha/beta markedly enhanced the subcutaneous growth, invasiveness and metastases of xenogeneic tumor cells (uninfected or infected with RNA or DNA viruses) in athymic nude mice; enhanced the intraperitoneal transplantability of six different syngeneic murine tumors in three strains of immunocompetent mice; and completely abrogated the resistance of allogeneic C57Bl/6 (H-2(b)) or C3H (H-2(k)) mice to the multiplication of Friend erythroleukemia cells (H-2(d)) in the liver and spleen resulting in the death of most mice. The mechanisms by which mice respond to the injection of relatively few tumor cells appear to be multiple, to depend on the site of tumor growth, to occur early and prior to an immunologic response. Endogenous type I IFN appears to constitute an essential component of these defense mechanisms enabling the host to restrict tumor growth.

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