Peritumoral injection of recombinant human interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta) in mice transplanted subcutaneously with Friend erythroleukemia cells (FLC) resulted in a marked increase in survival time and inhibition of metastatic tumor growth in liver and spleen. In contract, IL-2 treatment alone did not significantly inhibit the development of FLC metastases. A synergistic antitumor effect was observed after combined IL-1/IL-2 therapy of these mice. The antitumor action of IL-1/IL-2 treatment was abolished or markedly reduced in mice treated with antibodies to CD4 or CD8 antigens, whereas antibodies to asialo-GM1 were ineffective. A clear-cut increase in the percentage of CD4+ cells was observed in the spleens of cytokine-treated mice on days 17 and 23. On day 23 of cytokine therapy, CD8+ cells were increased in both spleens and lymph nodes. On day 17, infiltrates of host-reactive cells (i.e., lymphocytes, granulocytes, and monocytes) were observed in both spleen and liver from FLC-injected mice treated with IL-1/IL-2, in association with tumor cells. On days 17 and 23, spleen cells and cells recovered from mesenteric lymph nodes of IL-1/IL-2-treated mice exerted a potent antitumor effect as determined by Winn assay experiments. This antitumor activity was abolished by preincubation of spleen cells with anti-CD8 antibody, but not by treatment with antibodies to asialo-GM1; antibodies to CD4 exerted only a slight effect. Combined IL-1/IL-2 therapy was more effective on established (i.e., 6-7-d) FLC tumors than on early (i.e., 1-d) tumor-transplanted mice. IL-1/IL-2 treatments were also highly effective in increasing survival time of mice from which the subcutaneous primary tumors were excised 7 d after FLC injection. These data indicate that in mice injected with FLC, the antitumor effects of IL-1/IL-2 are mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ cells (but not NK cells), and suggest that this combined cytokine treatment may be effective against established metastatic tumors.

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