Advanced metastatic renal cell carcinoma has been shown to be responsive to immunotherapy but the response rate is still limited. We have investigated the therapeutic potential of systemic interleukin-4 (IL-4) administration for the treatment of pulmonary metastases in the murine Renca renal adenocarcinoma model. Renca cells were injected iv in Balb/c mice to induce multiple pulmonary tumor nodules. From Day 5, Renca-bearing mice were treated with two daily injections of recombinant murine IL-4 for 5 consecutive days. IL-4 treatment induced a significant reduction in the number of lung metastases in a dose-dependent manner and significantly augmented the survival of treated animals. Immunohistochemistry studies, performed on lung sections, showed macrophage and CD8+ T cell infiltration in the tumor nodules 1 day after the end of IL-4 treatment. The CD8 infiltration increased by Day 7 after IL-4 treatment. Granulocyte infiltration was not detectable. To clarify further the role of the immune system in IL-4 anti-tumor effect, mice were depleted of lymphocyte subpopulations by in vivo injections of specific antibodies prior to treatment with IL-4. Depletion of CD8+ T cells or AsGM1+ cells abrogated the effect of IL-4 on lung metastases, whereas depletion of CD4+ T cells had no impact. These data indicate that CD8+ T cells and AsGM1+ cells are involved in IL-4-induced regression of established renal cell carcinoma.
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