This study evaluated the ability of cytokine-engineered allogeneic (H-2q) HER-2/neu-positive cells to prevent tumor development in mammary cancer-prone virgin female BALB/c (H-2d) mice transgenic for the transforming rat HER-2/neu oncogene (BALB-neuT mice). Repeated vaccinations with cells engineered to release interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12, IL-15, or IFN-γ showed that IL-12-engineered cell vaccines had the most powerful immunopreventive activity, with >80% of 1-year-old BALB-neuT mice free of tumors. On the contrary all of the untreated mice and all of the mice vaccinated with IL-12-engineered cells lacking either HER-2/neu or allogeneic antigens developed mammary carcinomas within 22 or 33 weeks, respectively. Whole mount, histology, immunohistochemistry, and gene expression profile analysis showed that vaccination with IL-12-engineered cells maintained 26-week mammary glands free of neoplastic growth, with a gene expression profile that clustered with that of untreated preneoplastic glands. The IL-12-engineered cell vaccine elicited a high production of IFN-γ and IL-4 and a strong anti-HER-2/neu antibody response. Immune protection was lost or markedly impaired in BALB-neuT mice lacking IFN-γ or antibody production, respectively. The protection afforded by the IL-12-engineered cell vaccine was equal to that provided by the systemic administration of recombinant IL-12 in combination with HER-2/neu H-2q cell vaccine. However, IL-12-engineered cell vaccine induced much lower circulating IL-12 and IFN-γ and therefore lower potential side effects and systemic toxicity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research