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J Clin Invest. 1993 Jan;91(1):88-93.

Expression of high affinity interleukin-4 receptors on human renal cell carcinoma cells and inhibition of tumor cell growth in vitro by interleukin-4.

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Division of Cytokine Biology, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Previously, Puri et al. (Puri, R. K., M. Ogata, P. Leland, G. M. Feldman, D. Fitzgerald, and I. Pastan. 1991. Cancer Res. 51:3011-3017) have demonstrated that murine sarcoma and colon adenocarcinoma cells express high affinity interleukin-4 receptors (IL-4R) which are internalized after binding to a chimeric ligand consisting of IL-4 and Pseudomonas exotoxin. In the present study, we have tested primary cultures of human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cells, generated from tumor specimens obtained after nephrectomy, for the expression of IL-4R and their modulation by IL-4. By using iodinated IL-4 in a receptor binding assay, we observed that renal cell carcinoma cells expressed a single class of high affinity IL-4R ranging from 1,425 +/- 207 (mean +/- SEM) to 3,831 +/- 299 (mean +/- SEM) IL-4R molecules/cell with a Kd ranging from 112 +/- 11 pM to 283 +/- 71 pM. Northern blot analysis for IL-4R gene expression, performed with a cDNA probe to IL-4R, revealed that all RCC cells exhibited a single mRNA species of 4 kb. IL-4 downregulated the surface expression of IL-4R on one RCC tumor cell line. The function of IL-4R expression on RCC tumor cells was further determined by investigating the effect of IL-4 on tumor cell growth in vitro and comparing it with IL-4 effect on growth of normal fibroblast and endothelial cell lines. Tumor cell growth, as measured by [3H]thymidine incorporation, was inhibited by IL-4 from 20 to 68% in a dose-dependent manner. A neutralizing antibody to human IL-4 was able to reverse the growth inhibitory effect of IL-4. Normal human fibroblast and endothelial cell lines also expressed high affinity IL-4R, however, IL-4 did not inhibit their growth in vitro. In fact, IL-4 caused modest stimulation of their growth. Taken together, our findings can help develop strategies for the treatment of RCC in which IL-4R may be used as a target for IL-4 itself, for IL-4 toxin therapy or, alternatively, in gene therapy.

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