Lysis of allogeneic and autologous melanoma cells by IL-7-induced lymphokine-activated killer cells


In order to assess the potential of interleukin 7 (IL-7) as an immunotherapeutic agent in human melanoma, we have evaluated the in vitro activity of IL-7-induced lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells from patients with advanced melanoma against allogeneic and autologous melanoma cells. Peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) from 14 patients with stage III melanoma were isolated and incubated in the presence of 1,000 U ml-1 IL-7 and 100 U ml-1 IL-2 for comparison. LAK-cell activity was determined by a 24 h cytotoxicity assay using MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide]. The activity of IL-7-induced LAK cells against two allogeneic melanoma cell lines was 32.7% (+/- 17.9) against SK-Mel-37 and 38.1% (+/- 12.5) against SK-Mel-23 at an effector-to-target (E/T) ratio of 20:1. The activity of IL-2-induced LAK cells was significantly higher against SK-Mel-37 (78 +/- 24.6%) and against SK-Mel-23 (73.5 +/- 19.7%). IL-7 and suboptimal doses of IL-2 (10 U ml-1) were found to have a co-stimulatory on lymphocyte proliferation as well as on LAK activity. Against autologous melanoma cells, the activity of IL-7- and IL-2-induced LAK cells did not differ significantly (55.8 +/- 25.6% versus 68.7 +/- 21.7% respectively). In two patients, IL-7-induced LAK-cell activity against autologous melanoma cells exceeded even that of IL-2 significantly (67% vs 35% and 95% vs 82%). Levels of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) in the supernatants of LAK-cell cultures generated by IL-7 were lower than those of IL-2-generated LAK-cell cultures. These results suggest that IL-7 is a potential alternative to immunotherapy with IL-2 in terms of efficacy and possible side-effects and encourages pilot studies with IL-7 in melanoma patients.

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Böhm, M., Möller, P., Kalbfleisch, U. et al. Lysis of allogeneic and autologous melanoma cells by IL-7-induced lymphokine-activated killer cells. Br J Cancer 70, 54–59 (1994) doi:10.1038/bjc.1994.249

Download citation

Further reading