Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) secreted by cDNA-transfected tumor cells induces a more potent antitumor response than exogenous GM-CSF

Fu Shun Shi, Sharon Weber, Jacek Gan, Alexander L. Rakhmilevich, David M. Mahvi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Clinical cancer gene therapy trials have generally focused on the transfer of cytokine cDNA to tumor cells ex vivo and with the subsequent vaccination of the patient with these genetically altered tumor cells. This approach results in high local cytokine concentrations that may account for the efficacy of this technique in animal models. We hypothesized that the expression of certain cytokines by tumor cells would be a superior immune stimulant when compared with local delivery of exogenous cytokines. Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) cDNA in a nonviral expression vector was inserted into MDA-MB-231 (human breast cancer), M21 (human melanoma), B16 (murine melanoma), and P815 (mastocytoma) cells by particle-mediated gene transfer. The ability of transfected tumor cells to generate a tumor-specific immune response was evaluated in an in vitro mixed lymphocyte-tumor cell assay and in an in vivo murine tumor protection model. Peripheral blood lymphocytes cocultured with human GM-CSF-transfected tumor cells were 3- to 5-fold more effective at lysis of the parental tumor cells than were peripheral blood lymphocytes incubated with irradiated tumor cells and exogenous human GM-CSF. Mice immunized with murine GM-CSF-transfected irradiated B16 murine melanoma cells or P815 mastocytoma cells were protected from subsequent tumor challenge, whereas mice immunized with the nontransfected tumors and cutaneous transfection of murine GM-CSF cDNA at the vaccination site developed tumors more frequently. The results indicate that GM-CSF protein expressed in human and murine tumor cells is a superior antitumor immune stimulant compared with exogenous GM-CSF in the tumor microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Gene Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cytokines
  • Gene transfer
  • Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor
  • Tumor cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) secreted by cDNA-transfected tumor cells induces a more potent antitumor response than exogenous GM-CSF'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this