Dendritic cells (DCs) were adenovirally engineered to constitutively and durably secrete the potent Th1-biasing cytokines interleukin (IL)-12 (AdIL12DC) and/or IL-18 (AdIL18DC) and evaluated for their ability to promote therapeutic antitumor immunity in murine sarcoma models. Injection of either AdIL12DC or AdIL18DC into day 7 CMS4 or MethA tumors resulted in tumor rejection or slowed tumor growth when compared with control cohorts. Importantly, intratumoral injection with DCs engineered to secrete both IL-12 and IL-18 (AdIL12/IL18DC) resulted in complete and the most acute rejection of any treatment group analyzed. This strategy was also effective in promoting the regression of contralateral, untreated tumors. Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were required for tumor rejection. CD8+ splenic T cells from mice treated with AdIL12/IL18DC produced the highest levels of IFN-γ in response to tumor rechallenge in vitro and displayed the broadest repertoire of Tc1-type reactivity to acid-eluted, tumor-derived peptides among all treatment cohorts. This apparent enhancement in cross-presentation of tumor-associated epitopes in vivo may result from the increased capacity of engineered DCs to kill tumor cells, survive tumor-induced apoptosis, and present immunogenic MHC/tumor peptide complexes to T cells after intratumoral injection. In support of this hypothesis, cytokine gene-engineered DCs expressed higher levels of MHC and costimulatory molecules, as well as Fas ligand and membrane-bound tumor necrosis factor α, with the latter markers associated with elevated tumoricidal activity in vitro. Cytokine gene-engineered DCs appeared to have a survival advantage in situ when injected into tumor lesions, to be found in approximation with regions of tumor apoptosis, and to have the capacity to ingest apoptotic tumor bodies. These results support the ability of combined cytokine gene transfer to enhance multiple effector functions mediated by intralesionally injected DCs that may concertedly promote cross-priming and the accelerated immune-mediated rejection of tumors.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2003|