Fas (CD95) and its ligand are central regulatory molecules in hematopoietic cells. Previous studies have suggested a role for Fas in the regulation of tumor progression, but Fas has not yet been conclusively identified as a tumor suppressor. Fas-deficient individuals lack malignant tumors, perhaps because of regulation by T cells. To investigate such a possibility, mice deficient in both T cells and Fas were generated, and they were found to develop severe B cell dysregulation characterized by malignant, lethal B cell lymphoma. Lymphoma arose from a monoclonal B220+CD19-CD5-CD23- B cell secreting immunoglobulin M, kappa rheumatoid factor. In contrast, animals containing alpha beta T cells, gamma delta T cells, and/or functional Fas suppressed the development of lymphoma. These data indicate that Fas functions as a tumor suppressor, and identifies roles for both alpha beta T cells and gamma delta T cells in Fas-independent tumor regulation.

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