The role of uncultured melanoma cells in the proliferation of autologous tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) was investigated. Uncultured autologous tumor cells by themselves induced modest, but significant, proliferation in 10 of 13 (77%) CTL clones and in only two of nine non-CTL clones. Uncultured allogeneic melanoma cells mostly failed to induce CTL proliferation. Autologous tumor-induced CTL proliferation declined with increasing age of the culture. It did not correlate with IL-2 receptor-α expression or was not inhibited by addition of anti-IL-2 antibody to the culture. It was inhibited by pretreatment of tumor cells with anti-MHC class II, but not -MHC class I mAb. IL-2 alone was sufficient for the potent proliferation of five of nine CTL clones. In all these five CTL clones, autologous tumor cells suppressed IL-2-induced proliferation. The remaining four CTL clones, however, required both uncultured autologous melanoma cells and IL-2 for the proliferation. IL-4 or IL-6, in particular IL-6, facilitated IL-2-induced CTL proliferation, but not their cytotoxicity. In summary, uncultured melanoma cells by themselves induced modest levels of CTL proliferation in the context of MHC class II antigens, whereas they suppressed IL-2-induced CTL proliferation in more than half of the clones.
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