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Immunologic Host Defense in Melanoma: Delineation of Effector Mechanisms Involved and of Strategies for the Augmentation of Their Efficacy

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      There exists substantial evidence that the immune system plays an important role in the prevention and control of cancer. This evidence includes 1) the occasional clinical observation of spontaneous tumor regression, 2) the correlation of this phenomenon with the presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, and 3) the in vitro demonstration of the specificity of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes for the autologous tumor. Because of the only weak immunogenicity of and the occurrence of active immunosuppression by the cancer, this response often does not suffice to combat the neoplasm successfully. One strategy for amplifying the anti-tumor immune response is vaccination of patients or experimental animals with cancer cells, the immunogenicity of which has been enhanced by the introduction of genes encoding immunostimulatory molecules. Several investigators have shown that transfection of certain types of cancer cells with the interleukin-2 gene reduces their tumorigenicity and that immunization with interleukin-2—transduced cancer cells protects animals from challenge with a tumorigenic dose of wild-type cancer cells. We have recently established a murine melanoma model (M-3) and have used it to elucidate the mechanism by which interleukin-2—transfected cancer cells can induce protective immunity. We will demonstrate the following: 1) that the mechanisms leading to the loss of tumorigenicity of interleukin-2-expressing cancer cells are somewhat different from those leading to the rejection of wild-type cancer cells in immunized animals, 2) that immunity resides within both CD4- and CD8-positive T cells, and 3) that host antigen-presenting cells are probably important in the induction of this protective anti-tumor immunity. J Invest Dermatol 105: 110S–116S, 1995

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