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Gene Ther. 2012 Jan;19(1):34-48. doi: 10.1038/gt.2011.73. Epub 2011 May 26.

In vivo delivery of interferon-α gene enhances tumor immunity and suppresses immunotolerance in reconstituted lymphopenic hosts.

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Division of Gene and Immune Medicine, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.


T cells recognize tumor-associated antigens under the condition of lymphopenia-induced homeostatic proliferation (HP); however, HP-driven antitumor responses gradually decay in association with tumor growth. Type I interferon (IFN) has important roles in regulating the innate and adaptive immune system. In this study we examined whether a tumor-specific immune response induced by IFN-α could enhance and sustain HP-induced antitumor immunity. An intratumoral IFN-α gene transfer resulted in marked tumor suppression when administered in the early period of syngeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (synHSCT), and was evident even in distant tumors that were not transduced with the IFN-α vector. The intratumoral delivery of the IFN-α gene promoted the maturation of CD11c(+) cells in the tumors and effectively augmented the antigen-presentation capacity of the cells. An analysis of the cytokine profile showed that the CD11c(+) cells in the treated tumors secreted a large amount of immune-stimulatory cytokines including interleukin (IL)-6. The CD11c(+) cells rescued effector T-cell proliferation from regulatory T-cell-mediated suppression, and IL-6 may have a dominant role in this phenomenon. The intratumoral IFN-α gene transfer creates an environment strongly supporting the enhancement of antitumor immunity in reconstituted lymphopenic recipients through the induction of tumor-specific immunity and suppression of immunotolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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