The time- and dose-dependent effects of recombinant human interleukin 1α (IL-1α) on the antitumor activity of mitomycin C (MMC) and porfiromycin (PORF) were studied in RIF-1 and Panc02 solid tumor model systems. IL-1α produced dose-dependent sensitization of clonogenic RIF-1 tumor cells to MMC in vivo. IL-1α chemosensitization was highly schedule dependent, and the most efficacious schedules produced dose-modifying factors of 3.6 and 5.1 for MMC and PORF, respectively. More than additive clonogenic cell kill after IL-1α-chemotherapy combinations reflected increased cellular sensitivity to MMC and PORF. The combinations also produced marked decreases in the yield of viable tumor cells, suggesting that the bioreductive drugs may have also potentiated the microvascular injury and ischemia produced by IL-1α. Dexamethasone inhibited and ketoconazole, an inhibitor of corticosterone biosynthesis, enhanced IL-1α-mediated chemosensitization in these models. IL-1α mediated chemosensitization to MMC, and PORF was also demonstrated by tumor growth inhibition in the RIF-1 model and increased survival of mice in the spontaneously metastasizing Panc02 system. Chemosensitization of bone marrow spleen colony-forming units was not seen. IL-1α (1000 units/ml) had no effect on MMC and PORF cytotoxicity in RIF-1 and PORF cell lines in vitro. The results indicate that the tumor-specific IL-1α-induced pathophysiologies can sensitize solid tumors to agents which are preferentially activated, retained, and cytotoxic to cells under hypoxic conditions. Our results suggest that strategies combining bioreductively activated hypoxic cell cytotoxins and biological agents might offer efficacious alternatives or adjuvants to conventional combination approaches.


This work was supported in part by Grants CA 48077, CA 33188, CA 49143, and CA 44703 from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.


Presented, in part, at the 16th L. H. Gray Conference, September 20, 1990. Some of the data presented in Figs. 1 and 6 of this paper were published by us in the proceedings of this conference and are used with permission from the publisher.

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