Successful treatment of a malignant rat glioma with cytotoxic T lymphocytes

Neurosurgery. 1992 Sep;31(3):528-33. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199209000-00015.


Brain tumors are highly resistant to therapy. Their diffuse infiltrative nature and the relative inaccessibility of brain tissue to blood and lymph are barriers to surgical and cytotoxic treatments alike. The purpose of this study was to produce immune cells specifically reactive with an anaplastic rat glioma (RT2) and determine whether those cells could affect tumor progression in the brain. RT2-specific cytotoxic cells were prepared by priming rats in vivo with RT2 tumor cells and Corynebacterium parvum and stimulating the primed lymphocytes in vitro with irradiated RT2 tumor cells and interleukin-2 (IL-2). Cultured cells exhibited a high level of cytotoxicity against RT2, but not C6 (an allogeneic glioma), 3M2N (a syngeneic mammary tumor), or CSE (a syngeneic fibrosarcoma) tumor cells. To generate a model for therapy, rats were injected intracerebrally with RT2, generating progressing brain tumors, which killed untreated rats in approximately 2 weeks. To test the therapeutic potential of the effector cells, tumor-bearing rats were treated by intravenous injection of lymphocytes on Day 5 of tumor growth. Treated rats also received a 5-day course of systemic IL-2 beginning on Day 5. Treatment with IL-2 alone, RT2-primed spleen cells, or RT2-primed spleen cells stimulated in vitro with C6 did not affect rat survival. However, tumor-bearing rats treated with RT2-stimulated lymphocytes exhibited increased survival or were cured. Systemic IL-2 was an essential adjunct, because survival was not affected by treatment with effector cells alone. Therapy initiated on Day 8 of tumor progression lacked effect on survival.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Glioma / mortality
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Survival Analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / transplantation*
  • Time Factors