Immunization can prevent tumor growth, but the effector cells directly responsible for tumor cell killing in immunized hosts remain undetermined. The present study compares tumor grafts that progress in naive syngeneic rats with the same grafts that completely regress in hosts preimmunized with an immunogenic cell variant. The progressive tumors contain only a few macrophages that remain at the periphery of the tumor without direct contact with the cancer cells. These macrophages do not kill tumor cells in vitro. In contrast, tumors grafted in immunized hosts and examined at the beginning of tumor regression show a dramatic infiltration with mature macrophages, many of them in direct contact with the cancer cells. These macrophages are strongly cytotoxic for the tumor cells in vitro. In contrast to macrophages, tumor-associated lymphocytes are not directly cytotoxic to the tumor cells, even when obtained from tumor-immune rats. However, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells prepared from the regressing tumors induce tumoricidal activity in splenic macrophages from normal or tumor-bearing rats and in macrophages that infiltrate progressive tumors. These results strongly suggest that the main tumoricidal effector cells in preimmunized rats are macrophages that have been activated by adjacent tumor-immune lymphocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy