Using an immunogenic nonmetastatic murine mammary adenocarcinoma (D1-DMBA-3) induced in BALB/c mice by dimethylbenzanthracene, we have previously shown that splenocytes from tumor bearers have depressed lymphocyte responses to mitogens and antigens, including tumor-associated antigens. In addition, they display decreased natural killer and T-cell cytotoxic activities. Macrophages from tumor-bearing mice appear to be responsible for the suppression of T- and B-cell responses to concanavalin A, lipopolysaccharide, and tumor-associated antigens observed in tumor bearers. The appearance of these macrophages in the spleen tightly parallels the progressive growth of the tumor and the concomitant immunosuppression. Simultaneously high levels of macrophage progenitors were observed in blood, bone marrow, lung, and liver. A significant increase of colony-stimulating activity of the granulocyte-macrophage lineage was detected in the sera from tumor-bearing mice. Higher levels of this colony-stimulating activity (CSA) were detected in tumor cystic fluid as compared with the levels in serum. A tumor cell line established in vitro from the D1-DMBA-3 in vivo tumor produces high levels of a factor with CSA in culture supernatant fluids. Partial purification of the CSA from the tumor cell line supernatants was achieved using CentriCell ultrafiltration and Sephacryl S-300 chromatography. These studies revealed that the molecular weight of the colony-stimulating-like factor is 32,000 to 35,000. The morphology of the colonies obtained in cultures using this factor is similar to that of the colonies that develop in the presence of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) but not with macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF). CSA from tumor cell supernatants was neutralized by antiserum to GM-CSF but not with anti-M-CSF or anti-granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). Macrophages from bone marrow or peritoneal exudates from normal mice cultured with tumor supernatant for 2 to 3 days strongly inhibit normal splenocyte responses to concanavalin A and lipopolysaccharide. The data suggest that the tumor releases a GM-CSF that alters the hemopoietic system and induces or expands macrophages, which exert a suppressive function on the immune system of tumor-bearing mice.


Supported by NIH Grant CA-25583.

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