JOURNAL ARTICLE

Human CD4+ effector memory T cells persisting in the microenvironment of lung cancer xenografts are activated by local delivery of IL-12 to proliferate, produce IFN-gamma, and eradicate tumor cells

Lori Broderick, Sandra J Yokota, Joshua Reineke, Edith Mathiowitz, Carleton C Stewart, Maurice Barcos, Raymond J Kelleher, Richard B Bankert
Journal of Immunology 2005 January 15, 174 (2): 898-906
15634912
The implantation of small pieces of human primary lung tumor biopsy tissue into SCID mice results in a viable s.c. xenograft in which the tissue architecture, including tumor-associated leukocytes, tumor cells, and stromal cells, is preserved in a functional state. By monitoring changes in tumor volume, gene expression patterns, cell depletion analysis, and the use of function-blocking Abs, we previously established in this xenograft model that exogenous IL-12 mobilizes human tumor-associated leukocytes to kill tumor cells in situ by indirect mechanisms that are dependent upon IFN-gamma. In this study immunohistochemistry and FACS characterize the early cellular events in the tumor microenvironment induced by IL-12. By 5 days post-IL-12 treatment, the constitutively present human CD45(+) leukocytes have expanded and infiltrated into tumor-rich areas of the xenograft. Two weeks post-treatment, there is expansion of the human leukocytes and complete effacement of the tumor compared with tumor progression and gradual loss of most human leukocytes in control-treated xenografts. Immunohistochemical analyses reveal that the responding human leukocytes are primarily activated or memory T cells, with smaller populations of B cells, macrophages, plasma cells, and plasmacytoid dendritic cells capable of producing IFN-alpha. The predominant cell population was also characterized by FACS and was shown to have a phenotype consistent with a CD4(+) effector memory T cell. We conclude that quiescent CD4(+) effector memory T cells are present within the tumor microenvironment of human lung tumors and can be reactivated by the local and sustained release of IL-12 to proliferate and secrete IFN-gamma, leading to tumor cell eradication.

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