Interleukin-12 immunotherapy of murine transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder: dose dependent tumor eradication and generation of protective immunity

J Urol. 2004 Mar;171(3):1330-5. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000109742.88380.a2.


Purpose: The antitumor activity of interleukin (IL)-12 has been demonstrated in a number of tumor models but barely tested in bladder cancer models. We evaluated the antibladder cancer activity of this cytokine in syngeneic mice bearing subcutaneous, metastatic and orthotopic tumors.

Materials and methods: Mice were implanted subcutaneously, intravenously or orthotopically with syngeneic transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder. The tumor bearing mice were then treated with IL-12 locally or systemically and monitored for tumor regression and survival.

Results: In the subcutaneous model dose dependent suppression of tumorigenesis was observed when IL-12 was administered subcutaneously at a distal site with the MB49 line being more sensitive than MBT-2. IL-12 (10 days) above 50 ng daily was tumor inhibitory, while doses of 500 or 1000 ng daily prolonged survival and cured 70% and 75% of subjects, respectively. Upon re-challenge with parental tumor cells mice previously cured with IL-12 (1000 vs 500 ng daily) exhibited specific protection (70% vs 35% rejection) that was dependent on the earlier dose of cytokine. IL-12 administered intraperitoneally at a dose of 250 ng daily was more potent than subcutaneous administration and complete regression was observed. Metastatic TCC in the lungs and orthotopic tumors in the bladder also favorably responded to systemic or intravesical IL-12 therapy, respectively. Addition of IL-2 to IL-12 therapy increased tumor regression, long-term survival and rejection of re-challenged parental tumor.

Conclusions: IL-12 is exceptionally effective for treating murine bladder TCC in subcutaneous, metastatic and orthotopic models. The antibladder cancer activity of this cytokine should be tested in human bladder cancer therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / mortality
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Interleukin-12 / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Remission Induction
  • Survival Rate
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / immunology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / mortality


  • Interleukin-12