Activation and expansion of cytotoxic T lymphocytes from tumor-draining lymph nodes

J. Gregory McKinnon*, Shelley K. Hoover, Thomas H. Inge, Harry D. Bear

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Large numbers of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) could be generated from tumor-draining lymph nodes (DLN) from mice bearing PHS-5 tumor by culturing at low density with autologous tumor cell stimulators and 20 U/ml recombinant interleukin-2 (IL-2). Outgrowth of metastatic tumor cells in culture was prevented by use of this hypoxanthine/aminopterin/thymidine-sensitive mutant of P815, PHS-5. After 9 days in culture, lymphoid cells demonstrated specific cytotoxicity against autologous tumor target cells. Lymph node cells could be expanded continuously in culture with repeated tumor stimulation with up to 7500-fold increase in cell number by 6 weeks; although CTL could be activated from tumor-bearing host spleen cells in short-term culture, they showed no significant growth in long-term cultures. Phenotypically, DLN cells were a mixture of CD8+ and CD4+ cells immediately after harvest but after 2 weeks in culture they were predominantly CD8+ CD4-. CTL could be generated from tumor-bearing mice 10-14 days after i.d. tumor inoculation into the abdominal wall, but the immune response declined both in spleen and DLN by 21 days. Much greater CTL activity could be generated from axillary DLN that contained metastases than from non-draining popliteal nodes that were free of metastatic tumor cells. Some CTL activity could be generated from DLN with the addition of IL-2 alone but was further increased by the addition of more tumor cells as stimulators. When adoptively transferred to a host with 3-day P815 liver metastases, lymphocytes from DLN activated in vitro were able to reduce or eliminate metastases with very little or no IL-2 administered concomitantly. As few as 106 cells were therapeutically effective, and in vivo efficacy was tumor-specific, since L5178Y liver metastases were not affected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Immunology Immunotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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