Intradermal injection of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in patients with metastatic melanoma recruits dendritic cells

Cytokines Cell Mol Ther. 1999 Sep;5(3):139-44.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are the main antigen-presenting cells in the skin. We hypothesized that intradermal (i.d.) injection of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) would recruit DCs into melanoma skin metastases and enhance autologous melanoma antigen presentation to host T cells. Sixteen patients with cutaneous or subcutaneous melanoma metastases were treated with GM-CSF injected i.d. into a single dermal metastasis and into a normal skin site for 10 consecutive days at one of four dose levels (10, 20, 40, or 80 microg/injection). Pretreatment and post-treatment skin and tumor biopsies were stained for a panel of T-cell, B-cell, macrophage, and DC immunohistochemical markers. Positive cells were quantitated in a blinded fashion. There was a significant increase in the number of DCs (HLA-DR+, S100+, factor XIIIa+) and CD45R0+ T cells in the skin and in the tumors Injected with GM-CSF at all dose levels. Uninjected control tumors showed no increase in HLA-DR+ cells or T-cell infiltrate, but did show an Increase in S100+ and factor XIIIa+ cells, suggesting a non-DC population. ID GM-CSF administered in this manner recruited DCs into melanoma tumors and normal skin. Although no antitumor effects were seen, this represents a potential method of preparing skin sites for vaccine delivery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / immunology*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Melanoma / drug therapy
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor