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J Immunol. 2004 Dec 15;173(12):7170-82.

IL-27 mediates complete regression of orthotopic primary and metastatic murine neuroblastoma tumors: role for CD8+ T cells.

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  • 1Pediatric Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute-Center for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


We have shown previously that IFN-gamma-inducing cytokines such as IL-12 can mediate potent antitumor effects against murine solid tumors. IL-27 is a newly described IL-12-related cytokine that potentiates various aspects of T and/or NK cell function. We hypothesized that IL-27 might also mediate potent antitumor activity in vivo. TBJ neuroblastoma cells engineered to overexpress IL-27 demonstrated markedly delayed growth compared with control mice, and complete durable tumor regression was observed in >90% of mice bearing either s.c. or orthotopic intra-adrenal tumors, and 40% of mice bearing induced metastatic disease. The majority of mice cured of their original TBJ-IL-27 tumors were resistant to tumor rechallenge. Furthermore, TBJ-IL-27 tumors were heavily infiltrated by CD8(+) T cells, and draining lymph node-derived lymphocytes from mice bearing s.c. TBJ-IL-27 tumors are primed to proliferate more readily when cultured ex vivo with anti-CD3/anti-CD28 compared with lymphocytes from mice bearing control tumors, and to secrete higher levels of IFN-gamma. In addition, marked enhancement of local IFN-gamma gene expression and potent up-regulation of cell surface MHC class I expression are noted within TBJ-IL-27 tumors compared with control tumors. Functionally, these alterations occur in conjunction with the generation of tumor-specific CTL reactivity in mice bearing TBJ-IL-27 tumors, and the induction of tumor regression via mechanisms that are critically dependent on CD8(+), but not CD4(+) T cells or NK cells. Collectively, these studies suggest that IL-27 could be used therapeutically to potentiate the host antitumor immune response in patients with malignancy.

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