Author(s): Gazit Z, Kedar E
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Abstract Combinations of chemotherapy and interleukin-2 (IL-2) aimed at improving therapeutic efficacy in cancer patients have generally proved disappointing. Although chemotherapy blocks tumor growth and sometimes boosts immune functions, most drugs are immunosuppressive, at least transiently. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that maximal exploitation of the immunostimulatory and antitumor activity of both modalities requires careful coordination of chemotherapy and IL-2 timing. We analyzed the temporal effect of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, 100-120 mg/kg), cyclophosphamide (CY, 100 mg/kg), Adriamycin (8 mg/kg) and dacarbazine (100 mg/kg) on the activation of natural killer/lymphokine-activated killer (NK/LAK) cells by IL-2 in several strains of euthymic mice and in athymic nude mice. Following in vivo or in vitro exposure to IL-2 1-15 days after chemotherapy, the total lytic activity of the spleen and the number of LAK precursors (LAK-p) were measured. In euthymic mice injected with IL-2 (5 x 10(4) Cetus units twice daily for 4-5 days), 5-FU augmented (up to 37-fold, days 1-9) and CY reduced (up to day 6) LAK activity, as compared with that in the IL-2 control. In bulk cultures containing IL-2 (1000 CU/ml, 3-4 days), both 5-FU and CY reduced LAK activity of euthymic mice splenocytes for up to 6 days after chemotherapy, which was followed on day 9 by full recovery. In splenocytes of nude mice, 5-FU increased and CY diminished LAK activation in bulk cultures, starting 3 days after chemotherapy. In athymic mice, 5-FU markedly augmented the total number of LAK-p/spleen (up to 30-fold, days 3-9), as determined by limiting-dilution cultures with IL-2 (for 7-8 days). In euthymic mice, in contrast, LAK-p levels decreased for up to 6-9 days after treatment with 5-FU, Adriamycin or decarbazine, later recovering to pretreatment levels, whereas CY markedly increased LAK-p (up to 15-fold) when administered 6-12 days before limiting-dilution culture initiation. The effect of chemotherapy on LAK and NK activity was essentially similar. In other experiments, a subset of asialoGM1- LAK-p was found in the spleens of 5-FU-treated mice, but not in untreated mice. Our results suggest that the immunomodulatory effect of chemotherapy on NK/LAK activity in mice is variable and largely depends on the drug itself, the interval between chemotherapy and IL-2 administration, the strain of mice and the assay used.
This article was published in Cancer Immunol Immunother
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy