Liver-derived (LD) murine colon adenocarcinoma MCA-38 cells injected into the ileocolic vein (ICV) of C57BL/6 mice developed distinct hepatic foci within 14–21 days and survived for an average of 19–35 days. In contrast, C57BL/6-nu/nu mice given injections of LD-MCA cells by the same route did not develop hepatic lesions. Furthermore, 111In-labeled LD-MCA-38 tumor cells were rapidly taken up by the liver of conventional mice within 1 h and 73% of the radioactivity remained after 24 h. However, about 60% of the 111In-labeled LD-MCA-38 tumor cells were cleared from the liver of nude mice after 24 h. Nonparenchymal liver cells isolated from untreated conventional mice displayed little cytotoxicity against freshly excised 51Cr-labeled LD-MCA-38 cells but did lyse the standard natural killer target, YAC-1 tumor cells, in 4 h chromium release assays. On the other hand, nonparenchymal liver cells but not spleen cells from nude mice were cytotoxic to 51Cr-labeled LD-MCA-38 in vitro. The nonparenchymal liver cell population responsible for tumor killing was phenotypically nonadherent and asialo-GM1 (AsGM1) positive. C57BL/6 mice treated with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(IC)] also displayed cytotoxic activity against LD-MCA-38 tumor cells in vitro. Furthermore, poly(IC) treatment of mice 1–8 days after tumor inoculation suppressed the number of hepatic foci and also significantly increased the life span of tumor-bearing mice. Treatment of athymic nude mice or poly(IC)-treated conventional mice with anti-AsGM1 induced significant numbers of foci and significantly decreased the life span of MCA-38-bearing mice suggesting that AsGM1-positive cells in the liver of these mice may inhibit tumor growth in vivo. In conclusion, the host defense system of the liver from athymic nude or poly(IC)-treated mice possess AsGM1-positive cells that can suppress tumor implantation or tumor growth in the early stages of metastasis in liver.


Supported by Medical Research Funds from the Veterans Administration (S. A. C.) and from NIH R01-28835 (S. A. C.) and the Troup Fund from Buffalo General Hospital (S. A. C., R. J. D.).

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