9-kDa granulysin is a protein expressed into the granules of human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cells. It has been shown to exert cytolysis on microbes and tumors. We showed previously that 9-kDa granulysin exerted cell death by apoptosis in vitro on hematological tumor cell lines and also on cells from B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) patients. In addition, we have shown the anti-tumor efficiency of granulysin as a single agent in two in vivo models of human tumor development in athymic mice, the MDA-MB-231 mammary adenocarcinoma and the NCI-H929 multiple myeloma, without signs of overt secondary effects by itself. In this work, we have tested recombinant 9-kDa granulysin in an in vivo and especially aggressive model of melanoma development, xenografted UACC62 cells in athymic mice. Recombinant granulysin was administered once UACC62-derived tumors were detectable and it substantially retarded the in vivo development of this aggressive tumor. We could also detect apoptosis induction and increased NK cell infiltration inside granulysin-treated tumor tissues. These observations are especially interesting given the possibility of treating melanoma by intra-tumor injection.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Athymic mice; Granulysin; Intra-tumor; Melanoma.
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