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Human recombinant interleukin-6 enhances antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity of human tumor cells mediated by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells

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The effects of human recombinant interleukin-6 (hrIL-6) on antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity mediated by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMNC) were investigated. Human PMNC were preincubated for 24 h with various concentrations of hrIL-6 and were used as effector cells in a 4-h51Cr-release assay. The ability of hrIL-6 to augment ADCC was measured using anti-colorectal carcinoma mAbs D612, 17.1A and 31.1 (each directed against a distinct tumor antigen) and using three human colorectal carcinoma cell lines, LS-174T, WiDr and HT-29, as targets. A significant increase in ADCC activity was observed after PMNC were preincubated in 100–400 U/ml but not in lower concentrations of hrIL-6. Variations in activities of PMNC among donors were observed. Non-specific mAb showed no effect in augmenting ADCC activity. hrIL-6 treatment did not augment non-specific (non-mAb-mediated) cytotoxicity. The enhancement of ADCC activity was blocked by the addition of an antibody against hrIL-6 but not by an antibody to the IL-2 receptor (capable of blocking the induction of lymphokine-activated killer cell cytotoxicity by IL-2), suggesting that hrIL-6 augmentation of ADCC activity may not be mediated through IL-2. These results demonstrate that hrIL-6 augments ADCC activity of human PMNC using mAbs to human tumor antigens and human tumor cells as targets, suggesting a potential role for IL-6 in combination with anti-cancer antibodies for cancer immunotherapy.

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Correspondence to J. Schlom.

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Tsang, K.Y., Finch, M.D., Primus, F.J. et al. Human recombinant interleukin-6 enhances antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity of human tumor cells mediated by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Cancer Immunol Immunother 34, 9–16 (1991).

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Key words

  • Human rIL-6
  • Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity
  • Peripheral blood
  • Mononuclear cells