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Cell. 1990 Feb 9;60(3):397-403.

Interleukin-2 production by tumor cells bypasses T helper function in the generation of an antitumor response.

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Department of Oncology School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.


A poorly immunogenic murine colon cancer was used to investigate mechanisms of antitumor immunity. Injection of tumor cells engineered by gene transfection to secrete IL-2 stimulated an MHC class I-restricted cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL) response against the parental tumor. The tumor cells secreting IL-2 produced an antitumor response in vivo, even in the absence of CD4+ T cells. Animals immunized with the engineered cells were protected against subsequent challenge with the parental tumor cell line. Similar findings were demonstrated for other tumor types. Thus, provision of a helper lymphokine in a paracrine fashion induced a tumor-specific immune response involving activation of endogenous CTLs and other immune effector cells. These findings demonstrate that the failure of an effective antitumor immune response may be primarily due to a helper arm deficiency of the immune system rather than a paucity of tumor-specific cytotoxic effector cells. Furthermore, they outline a novel strategy for augmenting tumor immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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