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Int J Cancer. 1993 Sep 9;55(2):320-9.

Inhibition of tumor growth and enhancement of metastasis after transfection of the gamma-interferon gene.

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Istituto di Cancerologia, Università di Bologna, Italy.


Cells from the spontaneous metastatic TS/A mammary adenocarcinoma of a BALB/c mouse were transfected with the murine gamma-interferon (IFN-gamma) gene. Six clones (IFN-gamma clones) releasing between 2 and 6,000 international units (IU) of IFN-gamma/ml culture medium, were compared to TS/A parental cells (TS/A-pc) and to cells transfected with neomycin resistance gene only (NEO cells). Autocrine IFN-gamma up-regulated membrane expression of H-2 class-I and Ly-6 glycoproteins, but did not alter cellular proliferation in vitro. All IFN-gamma clones gave rise to progressive tumors with a growth rate significantly slower than that of tumors induced by TS/A-pc and NEO cells, and inversely correlated with the amount of IFN-gamma secreted. TS/A-pc and NEO tumors displayed a marginal reactive infiltrate, whereas those formed by IFN-gamma clones were massively infiltrated mostly by macrophages. In T- and NK-deficient mice the growth of tumors formed by IFN-gamma clones was not enhanced. In vitro tests showed that IFN-gamma clone cells were markedly more lysed by macrophages than TS/A-pc and NEO cells, while they remained poorly sensitive to NK and LAK cells. These data as a whole suggest that the development of solid tumors by IFN-gamma clones is primarily hampered by macrophages and not by T-lymphocytes or NK cells. When spontaneous metastatic ability was compared, 2 IFN-gamma clones releasing 2-4 IFN-gamma IU/ml were significantly more metastatic, while most IFN-gamma clones appeared to be as metastatic as NEO cells. By contrast, following intravenous challenge, all IFN-gamma clones produced 5-10 times more experimental metastases than NEO cells. The higher metastatic ability of IFN-gamma clones was attributed to increased resistance to NK cells since, in NK-depleted BALB/c mice, metastatic spread of IFN-gamma clones was not enhanced, whereas a 50-fold increase in the number of metastases was found upon injection of NEO cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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