Treatment of normal or MBL-2 tumor-bearing mice with cyclophosphamide (CY) caused severe suppression of myelopoiesis and macrophage (Mφ) functions, both of which may limit further use of chemotherapy. Additional treatment with the chemically defined biological response modifier maleic anhydride divinyl ether copolymer (MVE-2) was able to ameliorate the myelosuppressive effects of CY and to restore normal bone marrow cellularity. The stimulatory effects on myelopoiesis, however, could only be obtained by administering MVE-2 at ≥3 days after CY, which correlated with an MVE-2-induced simultaneous increase in granulocyte and/or macrophage colony-stimulating factor secretion by bone marrow cells or Mφ. Injection of MBL-2 tumor-bearing mice with MVE-2, at 3 days after Cy treatment, caused a decrease in tumor burden and a significant increase in median survival time as compared to treatment with CY alone. At the same time, MVE-2 induced an increase in the number of cytotoxic Mφ and a complete restoration within the myelopoietic lineage, which might prevent delayed side effects of CY, such as secondary infections, and might permit more intensive chemotherapeutic treatment. Treatment of MBL-2 tumor-bearing mice with MVE-2, at 6 days after CY, induced a significant increase in Mφ cytotoxicity but did not prolong median survival time, probably due to a rapid regrowth of tumor after treatment with CY. Our studies thus show that successful combined therapy with the primary cytotoxic agent CY and the biological response modifier MVE-2 depends on precise timing of the drug regimen and is influenced by the extent and reversibility of CY-induced immunosuppression, as well as by the kinetics of recruitment of new effector cells from bone marrow and by the tumor burden present at the time of treatment.

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