Generation from tumor-bearing mice of lymphocytes with in vivo therapeutic efficacy

S. Shu, T. Chou, S. A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Systemic transfer of sensitized lymphocytes can effectively mediate the regression of established tumors. However, virtually all prior experimental applications of this approach have utilized lymphocytes from animals that have been immunized to reject tumor challenge. A similar source of cells is not available in the human. With the use of a weakly immunogenic murine tumor, MCA 105, we demonstrate here that following in vitro sensitization (IVS) with viable tumor cells and interleukin 2, the non-therapeutic lymphoid cells from mice bearing a progressively growing tumor acquiring antitumor reactivity capable of mediating the regression of established pulmonary metastases. Although the IVS system induced nonspecific lymphokine-activated killer-like cytotoxic activity from lymphoid cells of normal as well as tumor-bearing mice, therapeutically active cells could only be generated from cultures initiated with lymphoid cells from tumor-bearing animals, indicating that the IVS was a secondary in vitro immune response. Without other treatment, the IVS cells could mediate antitumor effects. However, low doses of exogenous interleukin 2 administration could enhance their therapeutic efficacy. By in vivo T cell subset depletion with monoclonal antibodies, the primary effector cells were identified as belonging to cytotoxic/suppressor T cell lineage expressing the Lyt-2 phenotype. In addition, these therapeutic effector cells could be further expanded in numbers in vitro with continuous stimulation by tumor cells in the presence of interleukin 2. Compared to the number of cells initiating the culture, as many as 126 times the number of cells were obtained after 9 days of IVS followed by in vitro expansion for an additional 5 days. Studies on the kinetics of the occurrence of the pre-effector lymphocytes during tumor growth revealed that they were readily obtained from draining lymph nodes of mice with a broad range of tumor burdens as well as durations of tumor growth. The ability to generate and expand, in vitro, therapeutically active lymphocytes from tumor-bearing hosts has important implications for cellular therapy of human cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-304
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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