The efficacy of local adoptive immunotherapy with human lymphokine-activated killer cells and recombinant interleukin 2 (rIL-2) in growth inhibition of established squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) was evaluated in a nude mouse model. The model of xenografted SCCHN was established by s.c. injections of in vitro maintained tumor cells (2–10 × 106 cells/mouse) into the flank of splenectomized animals pretreated with cyclophosphamide (200 mg/kg). The SCCHN line used was tumorigenic in 95% of the appropriately conditioned nude mice. Inhibition of tumor growth by locally administered effector cells was the end point of the study, since the tumors did not metastasize within 6 weeks of tumor challenge. Either i.p. or local administration of rIL-2 alone (1000 units/day) to the tumor site daily for 2 weeks resulted in a significant inhibition of tumor growth. In the absence of detectable natural killer activity in these mice, a modest dose of rIL-2 had a direct antitumor effect on SCCHN cells in vivo. In addition, complete inhibition of tumor growth was achieved with 3 times weekly injections of 5–10 × 106 lymphokine-activated killer cells delivered to the tumor site and 1000 units of rIL-2 administered locally every day for 2 weeks. Our data indicate that local or systemic immunotherapy with rIL-2 alone or local adoptive immunotherapy with an adequate dose of lymphokine-activated killer cells plus rIL-2 may be effective in preventing the growth of established SCCHN tumors in vivo.

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Supported by ACS Grants IM-27077 (T. L. W.) and 88-154 (C. H. S.).

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