EblacZ tumor dormancy in bone marrow and lymph nodes: Active control of proliferating tumor cells by CD8+ immune T cells

Markus Müller, Fotini Gounari, Sophia Prifti, Hans Jörg Hacker, Volker Schirrmacher, Khashayarsha Khazaie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


A well-defined lacZ gene tagged DBA/2 lymphoma (EblacZ) was used to examine the role of host immune responses in controlling tumor dissemination and persistence, as well as metastasis. In s.c. and intra-ear pinna- inoculated mice, low numbers of EblacZ cells homed to the bone marrow and lymph nodes. The frequency of bone marrow-residing tumor cells did not change with the growth of primary tumor or with multiple inoculations of tumor cells. The bone marrow-residing tumor cells expressed the proliferation- associated Ki67 antigen and expanded upon CD8+ depletion. In contrast, inoculation of nu/nu or severe combined immunodeficiency mice or of immune- suppressed DBA/2 mice led to the rapid outgrowth of EblacZ cells in the bone marrow and their metastasis to other organs. Transfer of bone marrow from EblacZ immunized MHC congenic or syngeneic DBA/2 donors, but not from naive donors, protected s.c.-inoculated DBA/2 mice. Protection was abrogated by in vitro depletion of CD8+ T cells prior to transfer of bone marrow. These experiments show that bone marrow and lymph nodes are privileged sites where potentially lethal tumor cells are controlled in a dormant state by the immune system. Metastasis may be a consequence of the breakdown of this immune control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5439-5446
Number of pages8
JournalCancer research
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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