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Int J Cancer. 1994 Jun 1;57(5):656-63.

Early endothelium activation and polymorphonuclear cell invasion precede specific necrosis of human melanoma and sarcoma treated by intravascular high-dose tumour necrosis factor alpha (rTNF alpha).

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Department of Pathologic Anatomy, Jules Bordet Institute, University of Brussels, Belgium.


Twenty-seven patients treated with high-dose rTNF alpha, IFN gamma and melphalan by isolated limb perfusion were histologically documented. There were 20 cases of melanoma-in-transit metastases and 7 cases of high-grade soft-tissue sarcoma. Biopsies were taken before IFN gamma, after IFN gamma, before TNF alpha and between 2 hr and 60 days after the TNF alpha perfusion. Immunohistochemistry was performed for adhesion molecules ICAM-I, ELAM-I (E selectin), VCAM-I and PECAM. During the first hours after beginning perfusion, the endothelial cells of the tumour capillaries appeared swollen. Significant tumour necrosis was already observed 3 hours after the perfusion in melanoma cases. The overall predominant feature was coagulative necrosis associated or not with haemorrhagic necrosis. TNF alpha induced increased expression of ELAM-I and VCAM-I adhesion molecules on intratumoral endothelial cells. The activated tumour vessels were progressively destroyed. Significant intravascular recruitment of polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) was observed 3 hr after starting TNF alpha; it was followed by diapedesis and tumour colonization 3 days later. T lymphocytes and macrophages were detected during the first 7 days and B lymphocytes during the second week. Melanoma in transit metastases treated with alkylating agent alone did not show significant necrosis and did not express high levels of adhesion molecules (ELAM-I, VCAM-I) nor infiltration by PMN.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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