Small numbers of residual tumor cells at the site of primary inoculation are critical for anti-tumor immunity following challenge at a secondary location
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Luciferase-transduced B16 murine melanoma cells (luc-B16) inoculated in ear skin do not form tumors but prevent tumor formation by luc-B16 cells injected into the footpad. To determine the requirements for such immunity, we followed the fate of luc-B16 cells following ear injection. Surprisingly, small numbers of viable luc-B16 cells were detected in tumor-free mouse skin for up to 60 days post-inoculation. After 1 week, the number of Foxp3+CD4+CD25+ T cells (along with foxp3 mRNA expression) increased rapidly in the injected ear skin. Residual tumor cells in ears were reduced in mice treated with anti-CD25 mAb and in CD4-deficient mice, but increased in CD8-deficient mice. Strikingly, the loss of luc-B16 cells in the ear skin, either spontaneously or following amputation of the injected ear, resulted in significantly enhanced tumor formation by parental and luciferase-expressing B16 cells after footpad injection. These studies suggest that small numbers of tumor cells (possibly regulated by CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells expressing Foxp3) are required for effective host anti-tumor responses at alternate inoculation sites.
KeywordsTumorigenesis Regulatory T cells CD4
Regulatory T cells
Cytolytic T lymphocytes (cells)
We wish to thank Dr. Mark C. Udey (NCI) and Dr. Nicholas Restifo (NCI) for helpful comments and suggestions. Dr. Seth Steinberg (NCI) generously aided with statistical advice. This work was supported by funds from the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute. HN was supported by Clinical Research Training Program, NIH, and GP was supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Student Fellowship.
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