Interleukin-2 production by tumor cells bypasses T helper function in the generation of an antitumor response

Eric R. Fearon, Drew M. Pardoll, Toshiuki Itaya, Paul Golumbek, Hyam I. Levitsky, Jonathan W. Simons, Hajime Karasuyama, Bert Vogelstein, Philip Frost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

907 Scopus citations


A poorly immunogenic murine colon cancer was used to investigate mechanisms of antitumor immunity. Injection of tumor cells engineered by gene transfection to secrete IL-2 stimulated an MHC class I-restricted cytolytic T lymphocyte (CTL) response against the parental tumor. The tumor cells secreting IL-2 produced an antitumor response in vivo, even in the absence of CD4+ T cells. Animals immunized with the engineered cells were protected against subsequent challenge with the parental tumor cell line. Similar findings were demonstrated for other tumor types. Thus, provision of a helper lymphokine in a paracrine fashion induced a tumor-specific immune response involving activation of endogenous CTLs and other immune effector cells. These findings demonstrate that the failure of an effective antitumor immune response may be primarily due to a helper arm deficiency of the immune system rather than a paucity of tumor-specific cytotoxic effector cells. Furthermore, they outline a novel strategy for augmenting tumor immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-403
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 9 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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