Interleukin-12 (IL-12) gene was shown to produce both IL-12 and p40 subunit. The excess production of the p40 subunit as a natural antagonist of IL-12 is a major obstacle of IL-12 gene-based cancer therapy. We previously reported that IL-12N220L gene, which selectively reduces the secretion of the p40 subunit, induces long-lasting stronger type 1 helper T cells (T H1) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) immunity in hepatitis C virus (HCV) E2 DNA vaccination model and higher protection from challenge with tumor cells expressing E2 than IL-12 in a prophylactic setting. Here, we demonstrated that intratumoral injection of IL-12N220L-expressing adenovirus showed better tumor growth inhibition and higher survival rate than that of IL-12 or granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-expressing adenovirus in a therapeutic setting. In particular, the mice cured by IL-12N220L treatment were protected against intravenous rechallenge of the same tumor cells better than those by IL-12 treatment. In addition, the enhanced antitumor activity of IL-12N220L was confirmed in B16F10 lung metastasis model, which correlated with the frequency of tumor-specific interferon (IFN)-γ-secreting cells. When tested in CT26/NP tumor that expresses influenza nucleoprotein (NP) as a tumor antigen, IL-12N220L induced stronger NP-specific TH1 and CTL responses than IL-12, particularly at a later time point, indicating the generating long-term tumor-specific memory T-cell responses. Moreover, the potent antitumor effects of IL-12N220L were further augmented by combination with chemotherapy using farnesyltransferase inhibitor (FTI), LB42908. Taken together, our results suggest that IL-12N220L is superior to IL-12 in cancer immunotherapy, which can be further enhanced by combination with chemotherapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology