Immunotherapy with anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies and recombinant interleukin 2: Stimulation of molecular programs of cytotoxic killer cells and induction of tumor regression
Adoptive cellular immunotherapy, infusions of interleukin 2 (IL-2) in conjunction with in vitro-activated killer cells, has brought new hope to patients with cancer. The broad application of this strategy, however, is constrained by the need for repeated leukapheresis and by the labor-intensive process of in vitro activation of cells. Also, current protocols generally use nonphysiological and toxic concentrations of IL-2. Identification of an in vivo stimulant that renders T cells responsive to physiologic concentrations of IL-2 represents a potential improvement over existing approaches. We have determined whether in vivo administration of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed at the T-cell surface protein CD3 induces T-cell responsiveness to IL-2, stimulates cytolytic molecular programs of natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells, and induces tumor regression. These hypotheses were explored in a murine hepatic MCA-102 fibrosarcoma model. We report that in vivo administration of anti-CD3 mAbs plus IL-2 results in intrahepatic expression of mRNA-encoding perforin, cytotoxic T-cell-specific serine esterase, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Anti-CD3 mAbs alone or IL-2 alone failed to induce or induced minimal expression of these molecular mediators of cytotoxicity. The anti-CD3 mAbs plus IL-2 regimen also resulted in a significantly smaller number of hepatic metastases and a significantly longer survival time of tumor-bearing mice, compared to treatment with anti-CD3 mAbs alone or IL-2 alone. Our findings suggest that a regimen of anti-CD3 mAbs plus IL-2 is a more effective antitumor regimen compared with anti-CD3 mAbs alone or IL-2 alone and advance an alternative immunotherapy strategy of potential value for the treatment of cancer in humans.