The aim of the present study was to develop an animal model to test the therapeutic potential of purified adherent lymphokine-activated killer (A-LAK) cells against an intracerebrally implanted rat glioma, designated F98. Highly purified A-LAK cells demonstrated greater activity against F98 tumor cells than conventional lymphokine-activated killer cells, as determined by means of 51Cr-release and clonogenic assays. Therapeutic efficacy was evaluated by means of a Winn neutralization assay, in which F98 targets and A-LAK cells or control nonadherent mononuclear cells were incubated for 18 h in vitro and then implanted stereotactically into the right caudate nuclei of Fischer rats. Animals given injections of 4000 F98 cells alone or control nonadherent mononuclear cells had a mean survival time of 22.3 days, compared to 46.1 days (P < 0.001) for rats treated with A-LAK cells. Increasing the tumor inoculum to 12,500 cells reduced the survival time of A-LAK-treated animals to 27.8 days, compared to 20.8 days for untreated controls. Systemic administration of 50,000 units/kg of interleukin 2 every 12 h for 5 days failed to improve survival. The mean survival time of rats implanted with the F98 tumor ranged from 16 days for 105 cells to 29 days for 102 cells. Extrapolating from these survival data, treatment with A-LAK cells may have decreased the number of F98 cells to <10, but even this small number was still lethal. Supernatants from F98 cells had immunoinhibitory activity that, further, may have modulated the antitumor effects of A-LAK cells. Our results indicate that curative, adoptive immunotherapy of the F98 glioma by means of A-LAK/interleukin 2 is impossible to achieve and provide some explanation for the clinical failures that have been observed in the adoptive immunotherapy of malignant gliomas.

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Supported by Grant DE-AC02-76CH000616 from the Department of Energy, Grant P-30 CA16058-16A1 from the National Cancer Institute, and grants from The Ohio Division, American Cancer Society, and The Ohio State University, Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

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