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Br J Cancer. 1995 Feb;71(2):240-5.

Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes bear the 75 kDa tumour necrosis factor receptor.

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Padua University School of Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Italy.


Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is a cytokine with a variety of immunological properties. The identification of two receptors for this molecule, i.e. the 75 kDa and the 55 kDa TNF receptors (TNF-R), recently clarified the mechanisms through which this cytokine provides its wide range of immunomodulatory activities. In this study we have investigated the expression and the functional properties of these receptors on tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) recovered from 17 patients with solid cancers (melanoma, colorectal carcinoma and lung cancer). To this end, TIL lines and freshly isolated TILs were evaluated for (a) the expression and the functional role of TNF receptors following culture in the presence of interleukin 2 (IL-2) and (b) the production of TNF-alpha following culture with IL-2 and the role of this cytokine in IL-2-driven TIL proliferation. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that TILs bear the 75 kDa TNF-R. Moreover, TIL lines express detectable messages for TNF-alpha and release this cytokine. Functional in vitro studies have shown that anti-TNF-alpha, as well as anti-75 kDa TNF-R antibodies, are able to inhibit the IL-2-induced TIL proliferation. These data demonstrate that TILs are equipped with a fully functional TNF-R system and suggest a putative role for this receptor and its ligand in the activation and expression of TILs following immunotherapy with IL-2.

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