The anti-tumor effect of 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) was examined in BALB/c mice bearing increasing burdens of a syngeneic lymphoma (YC8). A single i.p. injection of the drug resulted in over 75% of cures when given at day 3, 5, 7 or 10 after an i.v. inoculum of 104 YC8 cells. The efficacy of BCNU on mice bearing large tumor burdens (from day 5 on) was not only due to its tumoricidal activity, but was immunologically mediated. Residual tumorigenic cells could be recovered in the livers of 5-day tumor bearers (TB) up to 2 weeks after BCNU treatment and only a low percentage of cures could be achieved when BCNU was administered to nude mice. In addition, BCNU-cured mice specifically rejected a lethal YC8 challenge and their splenocytes developed anti-tumor cytotoxicity in response to in vitro stimulation with YC8 cells. During kinetic experiments a 2-week period elapsed after BCNU injection before an anti-tumor cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response could be generated by spleen cells of BCNU-treated 5-day TB. This period was characterized by immunosuppression as evaluated from impairment in the generation of lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells or of allospecific primary CTL responses by spleen cells from BCNU-treated 5 day TB and BCNU-treated normal mice. LAK cells first recovered and could be generated 7 days later, whereas primary allospecific CTL responses could only be detected by day 14, concomitantly with the generation of anti-tumor cytotoxicity by 5-day TB. The development of secondary in vitro CTL responses, however, was permanently abrogated. Spleen cells from BALB/c mice immunized either with YC8 or with DBA/2 minor histocompatibility antigens and treated with BCNU 1 week after the last immunization failed to mount an in vitro CTL response to their immunizing antigen, even when the cultures were supplemented with recombinant interleukin-2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research