Immunosuppressive therapy for organ transplantation is essential for controlling rejection. When liver transplantation is performed as a therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), recurrent HCC is one of the most fatal complications. In this study, we show that intratumoral murine IL-12 (mIL-12) gene therapy has the potential to be an effective treatment for malignancies under immunosuppression. C3H mice (H-2k), injected with FK506 (3 mg/kg) i.p., were s.c. implanted with 2.5 × 106 MH134 cells (H-2k) and we treated the established HCC with electroporation- mediated gene therapy using mIL-12 plasmid DNA. Intratumoral gene transfer of mIL-12 elevated intratumoral mIL-12, IFN-γ, and IFN-γ-inducible protein-10, significantly reduced the number of microvessels and inhibited the growth of HCC, compared with HCC-transferred control pCAGGS plasmid. The inhibition of tumor growth in immunosuppressed mice was comparable with that of mIL-12 gene therapy in immunocompetent mice. Intratumoral mIL-12 gene therapy enhanced lymphocytic infiltration into the tumor and elicited the MH134-specific CTL response even under FK506. The dose of FK506 was sufficient to prevent the rejection of distant allogenic skin grafts (BALB/c mice, H-2d) and tumors, B7-p815 (H-2d) used as transplants, during mIL-12 gene therapy against MH134. Ab-mediated depletion studies suggested that the inhibition of tumor growth, neovascularization, and spontaneous lung metastasis by mIL-12 was dependent almost entirely on NK cells and partially on T cells. These results suggest that intratumoral mIL-12 gene therapy is a potent effective strategy not only to treat recurrences of HCC in liver transplantation, but also to treat solid malignant tumors in immunosuppressed patients with transplanted organ.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy