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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 1993 Jul;37(2):125-30.

Enhanced tumour growth in the rat liver after selective elimination of Kupffer cells.

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Department of Surgery, Free University Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The evidence that Kupffer cells are capable of controlling metastatic growth in the liver in vivo is largely circumstantial. The best approach when studying natural cytotoxicity activities of Kupffer cells is to investigate the effect of Kupffer cell elimination on tumour growth. Until now it has not been possible to eliminate Kupffer cells without affecting other cell populations. We have recently developed a new method to eliminate Kupffer cells selectively: intravenous injection of liposome-encapsulated (dichloromethylene)bisphosphonate (Cl2MDP-liposomes) leads to effective elimination of all Kupffer cells, without affecting non-phagocytic cells. Wag/Rij rats were injected with Cl2MDP-liposomes. After 48 h, rats were inoculated with syngeneic CC531 colon carcinoma cells by injection in the portal system. The results show a strongly enhanced tumour growth in the liver of the Cl2MDP-liposome-treated rats. In these animals, livers were almost completely replaced by tumour and had increased in weight, whereas in the control groups only a few (four to eight) small (1-mm) tumour nodules were found. These data show that selective elimination of Kupffer cells results in enhanced tumour growth in the liver, implying that Kupffer cells play a crucial role in controlling tumour growth in the liver.

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