Antitumor activity and immunotherapeutic properties of Flt3-ligand in a murine breast cancer model

Keyue Chen, Stephen Braun, Stewart Lyman, Yi Fan, Christie M. Traycoff, Eric A. Wiebke, Jay Gaddy, George Sledge, Hal E. Broxmeyer, Kenneth Cornetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

108 Scopus citations


Flt3-Ligand (Flt3-L) is a stimulatory cytokine for a variety of hematopoietic lineages, including dendritic cells and B cells. The antitumor properties of Flt3-L were evaluated in C3H/HeN mice challenged with the syngeneic C3L5 murine breast cancer cell line. Eighty % of animals receiving 800 μg/kg/day of Chinese hamster ovary-derived human Flt3-L for 10 days were protected from tumor growth, whether the tumor challenge was administered on the first or fourth days of Flt3-L administration. The protection provided by soluble Flt3-L was transient. All tumor-free animals rechallenged 4 weeks after the primary challenge developed tumor. Transduction of C3L5 with retrovital vectors expressing human or murine Flt3-L did not influence in vitro growth or MHC expression but decreased in vivo tumor development to 0 and 10% of mice, respectively. This compares with tumor growth of 52% with interleukin-2 transduced C3L5 and over 85% with untransduced and control vector-transduced C3L5. Unlike animals treated with soluble Flt3-L, administration of Flt3-L as a tumor vaccine protected mice from a subsequent challenge with untransduced C3L5 in 60-78% of mice, compared to 0% of controls. Our initial work used the most common Flt3-L isoform, which is membrane bound but can undergo proteolytic cleavage to generate a soluble form. To evaluate the role of the various Flt3-L isoforms in preventing tumor formation, retroviral vectors encoding only the membrane-bound form or only the soluble isoform were evaluated in the C3L5 model. Tumor formation was similar with either isoform, preventing tumor formation in 80-90% of mice after the primary challenge and 88-89% after the secondary challenge. Splenocytes obtained 4 weeks after the secondary challenge conferred adoptive immunity to naive mice in 60% of animals. This initial report of antitumor activity by Flt3-L is consistent with its known stimulatory effect on antigen-presenting cells and suggests it may enhance the development of tumor vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3511-3516
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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