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J Immunol. 1994 Aug 15;153(4):1697-706.

Recombinant IL-12 administration induces tumor regression in association with IFN-gamma production.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261.


Recent evidence supports the critical and proximate role of IL-12 in regulating both T and NK cell function during inflammation. In these studies, we evaluated the in vivo antitumor activity of murine IL-12 in murine adenocarcinoma and sarcoma models using both systemic and peritumoral administration. Antitumor effects were consistently demonstrated both in models of microdisease, in which IL-12 treatment was initiated soon after tumor inoculation (1 to 5 days), and in animals bearing large established tumors (7 to 14 days). Treatment with IL-12 markedly prolonged survival and, in most cases, caused complete tumor regression. Significant reduction in pulmonary metastases after systemic treatment was observed when treatment was delayed for 10 days after tumor inoculation. Increases in serum IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and nitrogen oxides were demonstrated, exceeding those observed with IL-2 treatment. Systemic administration of anti-IFN-gamma Abs before IL-12 treatment nearly completely abrogated the antitumor effect in experiments using subcutaneous tumors or pulmonary metastases. Depletion of the individual T cell subsets CD4 and CD8 by systemic administration of mAbs diminished the effectiveness of IL-12 when administered in combination. An infiltrate composed primarily of CD8+ + cells was demonstrated by using immunohistochemical analysis of tumors after IL-12 treatment. Minimal apparent toxicity was demonstrated at effective doses (0.1 to 1.0 microgram/day) of IL-12. These results indicate that IL-12 is an effective and minimally toxic antitumor agent in murine tumor models and leads to an immune-mediated rejection involving, at least in part, IFN-gamma, CD4+, and CD8+ cells. Human clinical trials of IL-12 for the treatment of malignancy are supported by these studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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