Inoculated immunogenic cancer cells after initial growth are potentially rejected by specific host immunity; however, the outcome of the interaction between host and inoculated cancer cells is a function of multiple factors including the route of inoculation, the number of cells, the density of antigens on the injected cancer cells, and the state of the immune system of the host. In the present study, we have examined a different kind of variable: the stroma that inoculated tumor cells initially reside in. The impetus to examine this factor arises from observations that cancer cells from several lines inoculated as fragments of solid tumors often grow progressively, whereas the same number or more than 10-fold larger numbers of identical type cells injected as a suspension are rejected, even though fragments or suspended cells are both tumorigenic at the same doses in nude mice. In the present studies, we found that: (a) indeed, cancer cells inoculated as fragments were more tumorigenic than cancer cells in suspension; (b) the tumorigenicity of suspended cancer cells was increased by injection of the cells into polyurethane sponge implants; (c) cancer cells were more tumorigenic embedded in syngeneic stroma than in transgenic antigenic stroma expressing the K216 major histocompatibility complex class I antigen; and (d) antigenic, bone marrow-derived, stromal components (presumably passenger leukocytes) were sufficient to cause rejection of immunogenic but antigenically unrelated cancer.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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