Expression of a murine interleukin 3 gene in murine fibrosarcoma cells (FSA-JmIL-3) did not alter their survival after in vitro irradiation. However, FSA-JmIL-3 tumors established in vivo were much more sensitive to irradiation than was the parental tumor. Following 25 Gy of irradiation, parental fibrosarcoma tumors regrew after a growth delay of 10 days, but FSA-JmIL-3 tumors continued to regress. Examination of the cellular composition of tumors following irradiation revealed that, instead of tumor cell repopulation, the FSA-JmIL-3 tumors became heavily infiltrated with lymphocytes, indicating that the effect of irradiation was to allow the IL-3-elicited cellular immune response to infiltrate the tumors and mediate rejection. This study indicates that combining gene immunotherapy approaches with radiotherapy might increase the effectiveness of both, and it seems logical to pursue such treatment options.
This work was supported by National Science Council Grants 86-2555-B199A-066 and DOH87-HR-720 (to C-S. S.) and National Cancer Institute Grant CA 44384 (to W. H. M.).