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J Immunother. 2004 Jan-Feb;27(1):13-26.

Prostate tumor microenvironment alters immune cells and prevents long-term survival in an orthotopic mouse model following flt3-ligand/CD40-ligand immunotherapy.

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Departments of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology, Virginia Prostate Center, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia 23501, USA.


A novel orthotopic metastatic model of mouse prostate cancer was developed using MHC-negative TRAMP-C1P3 (transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate) cells derived by serial passage of the parental TRAMP-C1 line in mouse prostate glands. TRAMP-C1P3 cells grew efficiently in mouse prostate glands and reproducibly metastasized to draining lymph nodes. Using this model, we show that Fms-like tyrosine kinase-3 ligand (flt3-L) dramatically inhibited growth of preexisting orthotopic TRAMP-C1P3 tumors and the development of metastatic disease. Mice remained in remission for several months following termination of flt3-L treatment but eventually relapsed and died of progressive disease. flt3-ligand treatment induced a pronounced mixed inflammatory cell infiltrate that consisted of CD8alpha-CD4- dendritic cells (CD11c+), macrophages, granulocytes (Gr-1+) and to a lesser extent T cells (CD4+ and CD8+). Dendritic cells isolated from TRAMP-C1P3 tumors were phenotypically immature (CD11c+ B7.2-I-A-CD40-), and this phenotype was also predominant in peripheral organs of mice treated with flt3-L alone or in combination with the DC maturation factor, CD40-L. Diminished expression of TCR-beta, CD3-epsilon, and CD3-zeta was also observed on intratumoral T cells, although these signaling proteins were reexpressed following in vitro culture with IL-2. The TCR/CD3 complex remained intact on peripheral T cells except in mice treated with flt3-L where CD3-zeta loss was observed. In contrast to alphabeta-T cells, tumor-infiltrating gammadelta-T cells maintained expression of their antigen receptors but not CD3epsilon. Thus, TRAMP-C1P3 tumors quickly establish a microenvironment that profoundly diminishes expression of molecules critical for normal dendritic cell and T cell function, thus limiting the efficacy of flt3-L and CD40-L immunotherapy. Overall, these data suggest that long-term cures of established MHC-negative tumors may not be achieved until therapeutic interventions are engineered to overcome this immunosuppressive microenvironment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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