5,6-Dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid treatment of a non-immunogenic tumour does not synergize with active or passive CD8+ T-cell immunotherapy

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The chemotherapeutic drug 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) inhibits intratumoural blood flow, causing hypoxia, haemorrhagic necrosis, vascular collapse and tumour cell death. Production of TNF-α and IFN is also induced, causing local inflammation and activation of immune cells including CD8+ T cells. We used the tumour cell line LL-LCMV, which expresses the gp33 epitope of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus in a non-immunogenic form, to investigate whether tumour cell death caused by treatment with DMXAA may improve the success of tumour immunotherapy mediated by CD8+ T cells. Treatment with DMXAA was effective at reducing the size of LL-LCMV tumours. However, compared to normal mice, tumour reduction was no more marked or sustained in mice carrying high numbers of naive, tumour-specific CD8+ T cells. The antitumour effect of activated CD8+ T cells was also not affected by DMXAA treatment. Tumour-specific CD8+ T cells activated in vivo by immunization with dendritic cells and specific tumour peptide antigen, or generated in vitro and adoptively transferred into tumour-bearing mice by i.v. injection, did not improve or sustain the reduction in tumour size induced by DMXAA treatment. We conclude that the presence of high numbers of naive CD8+ T cells, or immunotherapies leading to CD8+ T-cell activation, do not synergize with the tumour cell death and local inflammation induced by DMXAA treatment. It is possible that this lack of synergism may result from both treatments inducing activation of CD8+ T cells and that treatments that activate different populations of immune cells may achieve better success.

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