In vivo anti-tumour activity of recombinant human and murine TNF, alone and in combination with murine IFN-gamma, on a syngeneic murine melanoma

Int J Cancer. 1986 Nov 15;38(5):763-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910380521.


TNF, a protein released by induced macrophages, is believed to mediate, at least in part, the tumoritoxic effects of activated macrophages. In vitro, it has cytotoxic effects on transformed cells but not on normal cells, and in vivo it causes necrosis of tumours. Recently, both human and murine TNF became available as pure recombinant proteins. Subsequent work confirmed its in vitro cytotoxic activity, selective for transformed cells, and revealed other, non-cytotoxic effects on some normal cells. In vitro, the B16BL6 melanoma cells, syngeneic with C57BL6 mice, are resistant to the cytotoxic effects of rTNF but become sensitive when they are also treated with rIFN-gamma. We report that established, s.c. B16BL6 tumours in vivo can be induced to necrotize and regress by a combined systemic treatment with rTNF and murine rIFN-gamma. Although TNF is not species-specific in vitro, the effects of treatment with human and murine rTNF in vivo are different: with murine rTNF, the synergism with rIFN-gamma is relatively less clear, the addition of IFN-gamma is not necessary to induce regression, toxicity is more pronounced and additional mechanisms of tumoritoxicity could be involved. Relapses are frequent but complete cures have been observed. These results give further evidence in favour of a potential clinical use of TNF in combination therapy, e.g. with IFN-gamma. However, there is still a need to develop better regimens, especially for consolidation, and to continue research in order to understand and limit the toxicity, which could be mediated by the activating effects of TNF on some normal cell types.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Drug Synergism
  • Glycoproteins / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / therapeutic use*
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha


  • Glycoproteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma