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J Leukoc Biol. 2006 Jun;79(6):1181-92. Epub 2006 Mar 24.

In vivo CD40 ligation can induce T-cell-independent antitumor effects that involve macrophages.

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Department of Human Oncology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53792, USA.


We have previously demonstrated T cell-independent antitumor and antimetastatic effects of CD40 ligation that involved natural killer (NK) cells. As CD40 molecules are expressed on the surface of macrophages (Mphi), we hypothesized that Mphi may also serve as antitumor effector cells when activated by CD40 ligation. Progression of subcutaneous NXS2 murine neuroblastomas was delayed significantly by agonistic CD40 monoclonal antibody (anti-CD40 mAb) therapy in immunocompetent A/J mice, as well as in T and B cell-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. Although NK cells can be activated by anti-CD40 mAb, anti-CD40 mAb treatment also induced a significant antitumor effect in SCID/beige mice in the absence of T and NK effector cells, even when noncytolytic NK cells and polymorphonuclear cells (PMN) were depleted. Furthermore, in vivo treatment with anti-CD40 mAb resulted in enhanced expression of cytokines and cell surface activation markers, as well as Mphi-mediated tumor inhibition in A/J mice, C57BL/6 mice, and SCID/beige mice, as measured in vitro. A role for Mphi was shown by reduction in the antitumor effect of anti-CD40 mAb when Mphi functions were inhibited in vivo by silica. In addition, activation of peritoneal Mphi by anti-CD40 mAb resulted in survival benefits in mice bearing intraperitoneal tumors. Taken together, our results show that anti-CD40 mAb immunotherapy of mice can inhibit tumor growth in the absence of T cells, NK cells, and PMN through the involvement of activated Mphi.

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