Differential effect of high doses versus low doses of interleukin-12 on the adoptive transfer of human specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte in autologous lung tumors engrafted into severe combined immunodeficiency disease-nonobese diabetic mice: relation with interleukin-10 induction

Cancer. 2001 Jan 1;91(1):113-22.


Background: Interleukin (IL)-12 can enhance the development of effective immune responses against tumors as well as against certain infectious agents. It is therefore a potential candidate for therapeutic use in cancer therapy and in design of vaccines against several infectious diseases.

Methods: The authors have established a specific cytotoxic T-cell line (TIL-Heu) from lymphocytes infiltrating a human large cell carcinoma of the lung (LCC). In the current report, the authors have investigated the in vivo effect of recombinant human IL-12 (rhIL-12) on the adoptive transfer of TIL-Heu cells in autologous tumor (Heu-n) engrafted into severe combined immunodeficiency disease-nonobese diabetic (SCID-NOD) mice.

Results: Initial in vitro experiments indicated that rhIL-12 increased the cytotoxic potential of TIL-Heu cells in a dose-dependent manner. Heu-n tumors transplanted into SCID-NOD mice were injected with TIL-Heu cells, resulting in a significant tumor growth inhibition. When low doses of rhIL-12 were injected intratumorally after TIL-Heu transfer, a clear increase in tumor growth suppression was observed. Surprisingly, higher doses of rhIL-12 had no effect on cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-induced prevention of tumor growth. Further in vitro experiments revealed an inhibition of tumor cell lysis after incubation with supernatant of TIL-Heu cells stimulated with high doses of rhIL-12, strongly suggesting that an immunosuppressive factor secreted by the high dose IL-12-stimulated CTL may be responsible for the tumor escape observed in vivo.

Conclusions: The authors' data indicate that IL-10 may play a critical role in the lack of effect of high dose IL-12, by mediating tumor cell resistance to CTL killing. Therefore, understanding the cross-talk between immunoregulatory and immunosuppressive cytokines ultimately may provide new approaches to improve cytokine-mediated cancer immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Adoptive Transfer*
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-12 / pharmacology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Experimental
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12