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Gastroenterology. 1994 Dec;107(6):1697-708.

An interleukin 2/sodium butyrate combination as immunotherapy for rat colon cancer peritoneal carcinomatosis.

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INSERM Contrat Jeune Formation 90-11, Institute of Biology, University of Medicine, Nantes, France.



Immunotherapy using interleukin 2 has had disappointing results in the treatment of colon cancer. Overcoming escape mechanisms, such as lack of antigen presentation and absence of accessory adhesion molecules on cancer cells, may increase its efficiency. We tried to do so by modifying the phenotype of the weakly immunogenic rat colon cancer PROb cells with sodium butyrate.


After in vitro treatment with butyrate, PROb cells were tested for lymphokine-activated killer cell sensitivity and, using cytofluorometry, expression of adhesion molecules. We then treated established PROb peritoneal carcinomatoses with intraperitoneal injections of interleukin 2 and butyrate. Tumors were studied histologically and immunohistochemically. We tested the specificity of the immune protection by subsequent subcutaneous challenges with either PROb or glioma cells and by Winn's assay.


Butyrate increased lymphokine-activated killer cell sensitivity and expression of major histocompatibility complex class I and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 in vitro. Interleukin 2/butyrate combination resulted in cases of complete cure of carcinomatosis with specific protection against PROb cells. We noticed a complex stroma reaction with numerous functional antigen presenting cells close to PROb cells.


The complete regression of tumor masses may be attributed, at least in part, to a butyrate-induced increase in immunogenicity of the cancer cells. This new combined immunotherapy may be of interest in the treatment of colon cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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