Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

The combined action of IL-15 and IL-12 gene transfer can induce tumor cell rejection without T and NK cell involvement.

PMID 10975824


The cooperative antitumor effects of IL-12 and IL-15 gene transfer were studied in the N592 MHC class I-negative small cell lung cancer cell line xenotransplanted in nude mice. N592 cells engineered to secrete IL-15 displayed a significantly reduced tumor growth kinetics, and a slightly reduced tumor take rate, while N592 engineered with IL-12 displayed only minor changes in their growth in nude mice. However, N592 cells producing both cytokines were completely rejected, and produced a potent local bystander effect, inducing rejection of coinjected wild-type tumor cells. N592/IL-12/IL-15 cells were completely and promptly rejected also in NK-depleted nude mice, while in granulocyte-depleted animals a slight delay in the rejection process was observed. Immunohistochemical analyses of the N592/IL-12/IL-15 tumor area in intact nude mice revealed the presence of infiltrating macrophages, granulocytes, and NK cells, and expression of inducible NO synthase and of secondary cytokines such as IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma, and at higher levels GM-CSF, macrophage-inflammatory protein-2, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. In NK cell-depleted nude mice, numerous macrophages and granulocytes infiltrated the tumor, and a strong expression of macrophage-inflammatory protein-2 and inducible NO synthase was also observed. Finally, macrophages cocultured with N592/IL-12/IL-15 produced NO in vitro, and inhibited tumor cell growth, further suggesting their role as effector cells in this model.