Murine tumor cells transduced with the gene for tumor necrosis factor-α: Evidence for paracrine immune effects of tumor necrosis factor against tumors

A. L. Asher, J. J. Mule, A. Kasid, N. P. Restifo, J. C. Salo, C. M. Reichert, G. Jaffe, B. Fendly, M. Kriegler, S. A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

315 Scopus citations


Studies of the anti-tumor activity of TNF-α in vivo have been hampered by the need to administer systemically toxic doses of the cytokine to obtain a curative response. To facilitate studies of the effect of high local concentrations of TNF-α on tumor growth and host immunity, a newly induced murine sarcoma was transduced with the gene for human TNF-α and the biologic characteristics of these cells were examined. We identified high and low TNF-producing tumor clones which exhibited stable TNF secretion over time. Significant amounts of membrane associated TNF were found in a high-TNF producing clone as well. No difference in the in vitro growth rates between TNF-producing and nonproducing cell lines was observed. In contrast, in vivo studies demonstrate that although unmodified parental tumor cells grew progressively when implanted s.c. in animals, tumor cells transduced with the TNF gene were found to regress in a significant number of animals after an initial phase of growth. This effect correlated with the amount of TNF produced and could be blocked with a specific anti-TNF antibody. Regressions of TNF-producing cells occurred in the absence of any demonstrable toxicity in the animals bearing these tumors. TNF-producing tumor cells could function in a paracrine fashion by inhibiting the growth of unmodified, parental tumor cells implanted at the same site. The ability of tumor cells to regress was abrogated by in vivo depletion of CD4+ or CD8+ T cell subsets and animals that had experienced regression of TNF-producing tumors rejected subsequent challenges of parental tumor. Our studies thus show that tumor cells elaborating high local concentrations of TNF regress in the absence of toxicity in the host and that this process requires the existence of intact host immunity. Studies of the lymphocytes infiltrating the gene modified tumors and attempts to use TNF gene modified tumor infiltrating lymphocytes to deliver high local concentrations of TNF to the tumor site without inducing systemic toxicity are underway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3227-3234
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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