Crucial role for interferon γ in the synergism between tumor vasculature-targeted tumor necrosis factor α (NGR-TNF) and doxorubicin

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NGR-TNF is a derivative of TNF-α, consisting of TNF fused to CNGRCG, a tumor vasculature-targeting peptide. Previous studies showed that NGR-TNF can exert synergistic antitumor effects with doxorubicin and with other chemotherapeutic drugs in murine models. In this study, we have investigated the role of endogenous IFN-γ on the antitumor activity of NGR-TNF in combination with doxorubicin. The study was carried out using murine B16F1 melanoma and TS/A mammary adenocarcinoma implanted subcutaneously in (a) immunocompetent mice, (b) athymic nude mice, and (c) IFN-γ- knockout mice. Synergism between NGR-TNF and doxorubicin was observed in immunocompetent mice but not in nude or IFN-γ-knockout mice. Preadministration of a neutralizing anti-IFN-γ antibody to immunocompetent mice inhibited the NGR-TNF/ doxorubicin synergism, whereas administration of IFN-γ to nude and to IFN-γ-knockout mice restored the synergistic activity. The synergism in nude mice was restored also by transfecting tumor cells with the IFN-γ cDNA. Administration of NGR-TNF in combination with IFN-γ to nude mice, but not of NGR-TNF alone, doubled the penetration of doxorubicin in TS/A tumors. These findings point to a crucial role for locally produced IFN-γ in tumor vascular targeting with NGR-TNF and doxorubicin. Finally, addition of IFN-γ to the treatment of immunocompetent mice with NGR-TNF/doxorubicin induced only modest improvement in response, suggesting that exogenous IFN-γ can improve the therapeutic activity of these drugs only in case of suboptimal production of endogenous IFN-γ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7150-7155
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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