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Int J Oncol. 1998 Aug;13(2):361-74.

A new mouse model of experimental melanoma for vaccine and lymphokine therapy.

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Surgical Oncology Research Laboratory, Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence, RI 02908, USA.


The annual incidence of malignant melanoma is estimated at 10-12 per 100,000 inhabitants in countries of central Europe and the United States, and alarmingly there has been a dramatic upward trend in that estimate. The B16 murine melanoma is a rapidly growing metastatic tumor of spontaneous origin, as are human malignant melanomas. Melanoma cells produce specific antigens which are uniquely different from normal cellular antigens, and the expression of such antigens is the cornerstone for preparation of anti-melanoma vaccines. One major problem in evaluating the effectiveness of vaccination and other biologic therapies is the variability of experimental tumor models. A new metastatic model of experimental melanoma which was developed in our laboratory imitates the major clinical stages of malignant metastatic melanoma: stage I, primary (local) tumor growth and bone marrow invasion; stage II, regional lymph node involvement; and stage III, metastasis to distant organs, such as the lungs. This model has been used successfully for screening vaccines constructed in our laboratory. Immunization with formalinized vaccines (of extracellular antigens, intact melanoma cells, or B700 antigen) or irradiated vaccines (of intact melanoma cells) partially inhibit primary melanoma tumor growth, reduce metastasis to regional lymph nodes and lungs, and significantly increase mean survival time. These anti-tumor effects were improved when polyvalent and monovalent vaccines were combined with IL-2 therapy. We also compared the immunogenic activity of vaccines made from B16 melanoma cells transfected with genes encoding murine IL-2 or GM-CSF, and effects on tumor bearing mice were compared with or without therapy using the corresponding lymphokines. In sum, comparison of antibody production, growth of primary melanoma tumors, number of surviving mice, mean survival time, and percent of mice with lung metastases, showed that the best course of immunotherapy involves vaccination of mice with irradiated B16 melanoma cells transfected to secrete GM-CSF, coupled with GM-CSF therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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