Antitumor activity of alpha-galactosylceramide, KRN7000, in mice with EL-4 hepatic metastasis and its cytokine production

Oncol Res. 1998;10(11-12):561-8.


Liver metastasis of primary tumor is a clinically major problem. KRN7000, an alpha-galactosylceramide, significantly augments natural killer (NK) activity of spleen cells and shows strong antitumor activity in mice with lung metastasis of melanoma B16 cells. To test whether KRN7000 has an antitumor activity in mice with hepatic metastasis of tumors, we examined the effect of KRN7000 on NK activity of hepatic mononuclear cells (MNC) and the antitumor activity in mice with liver metastasis of EL-4 cells. The in vivo administration of KRN7000 significantly augmented NK activity of hepatic MNC and inhibited tumor growth of EL-4 cells in the liver more markedly than chemotherapeutic agents, leading to a relatively high rate of cured mice. In addition, it appeared that the KRN7000 treatment is effective in mice with established EL-4 tumors. Moreover, we found that KRN7000 can produce significant amounts of interleukin 2 (IL-2), IL-4, IL-12, and interferon-gamma in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that KRN7000 will be useful for the treatment of cancer liver metastasis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Galactosylceramides / pharmacology*
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukin-12 / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-4 / blood
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / secondary*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Mice


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Galactosylceramides
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma
  • KRN 7000