Pro-inflammatory and T cell inhibitory cytokines are secreted at high levels in tumor cell cultures of human renal cell carcinoma

Eur Urol. 1999 Jan;35(1):70-80. doi: 10.1159/000019821.


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to assess cytokine secretion in human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and to identify cytokines contributing to the immunomodulatory effect of tumor cells.

Methods: Cytokine secretion in the supernatant of primary tumor cell cultures (PTCC) and corresponding cell lines (CL) was assayed using ELISA. Tumor cells were characterized by morphology, immunocytochemistry, and flow-cytometric analysis. Tumor-cell-induced T cell activation was determined by coculture of gamma delta and alpha beta T cell clones with tumor CL.

Results: We assessed the cytokine secretion of tumor cells from 27 PTCC and their corresponding CL (3/27) of RCC. We found that RCC predominantly produced both pro-inflammatory and T-cell-inhibitory cytokines, such as IL-8, IL-6, GM-CSF, TNF-alpha, IL-10 and TGF-beta 1. CL were adapted to serum-free medium which may prove as a useful tool in future studies of cytokine secretion in RCC. In addition, we used gamma delta and alpha beta T cell clones to assess the immunomodulatory effect of tumor cells from RCC and found that predominantly gamma delta T cells were activated by RCC.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that RCC produce large amounts of both pro-inflammatory and T-cell-inhibitory cytokines that potentially could influence the immune response of the host, especially tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / immunology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cytokines