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J Immunol. 2005 May 1;174(9):5856-63.

CXC chemokine ligand 12 (stromal cell-derived factor 1 alpha) and CXCR4-dependent migration of CTLs toward melanoma cells in organotypic culture.

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  • 1The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Studies in experimental animal models have demonstrated that chemokines produced by tumor cells attract chemokine receptor-positive T lymphocytes into the tumor area, which may lead to tumor growth inhibition in vitro and in vivo. However, in cancer patients, the role of chemokines in T lymphocyte trafficking toward human tumor cells is relatively unexplored. In the present study, the role of chemokines and their receptors in the migration of a melanoma patient's CTL toward autologous tumor cells has been studied in a novel organotypic melanoma culture, consisting of a bottom layer of collagen type I with embedded fibroblasts followed successively by a tumor cell layer, collagen/fibroblast separating layer, and, finally, a top layer of collagen with embedded fibroblasts and T cells. In this model, CTL migrated from the top layer through the separating layer toward tumor cells, resulting in tumor cell apoptosis. CTL migration was mediated by chemokine receptor CXCR4 expressed by the CTL and CXCL12 (stromal cell-derived factor 1alpha) secreted by tumor cells, as evidenced by blockage of CTL migration by Abs to CXCL12 or CXCR4, high concentrations of CXCL12 or small molecule CXCR4 antagonist. These studies, together with studies in mice indicating regression of CXCL12-transduced tumor cells, followed by regression of nontransduced challenge tumor cells, suggest that CXCL12 may be useful as an immunotherapeutic agent for cancer patients, when transduced into tumor cells, or fused to anti-tumor Ag Ab or tumor Ag.

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