Spleen cells from C57BL/6 mice immunized in vivo with a syngeneic Friend virus-induced leukemia, FBL-3, were specifically activated by culture for 7 d with FBL-3, then nonspecifically induced to proliferate in vitro for 12 d by addition of supernatants from concanavalin A-stimulated lymphocytes containing interleukin 2 (IL-2). Such long-term cultured T lymphocytes have previously been shown to specifically lyse FBL-3 and to mediate specific adoptive therapy of advanced disseminated FBL-3 when used as an adjunct to cyclophosphamide (CY) in adoptive chemoimmunotherapy. Because the cultured cells are dependent upon IL-2 for proliferation and survival in vitro, their efficacy in vivo is potentially limited by the availability of endogenous IL-2. Thus, the aim of the current study was to determine whether exogenously administered purified IL-2 could augment the in vivo efficacy of long-term cultured T lymphocytes. Purified IL-2 alone or as an adjunct to CY as ineffective in tumor therapy. However, IL-2 was extremely effective in augmenting the efficacy of IL-2-dependent long-term cultured T lymphocytes in adoptive chemoimmunotherapy. The mechanism by which IL-2 functions in vivo is presumably by promoting in vivo growth and/or survival of adoptively transferred cells. This assumption was supported by the findings that IL-2 did not enhance the modest therapeutic efficacy of irradiated long-term cultured cells that were incapable of proliferating in the host and was ineffective in augmenting the in vivo efficacy of noncultured immune cells that are not immediately dependent upon exogenous IL-2 for survival.

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