Local tumor irradiation enhances the effect of interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy in the Renca murine renal adenocarcinoma model. To investigate the mechanism(s) of this interaction, we studied the in vitro and in vivo effects of irradiation on the tumor cells. Tumor cells from in situ irradiated renal tumors had diminished proliferation in vitro. A similar growth inhibition was noted following injection of irradiated Renca cells into naive mice, but this effect could be overcome by injecting more cells. Histologic evaluation of tumors derived from irradiated cells revealed a decrease in mitosis and an increase in multinucleated giant cells, apoptosis and micronecrosis. The presence of irradiated tumor reduced the growth of nonirradiated tumor cells when both were injected into separate flanks of the same animal, suggesting that irradiated tumor cells may trigger a systemic antitumor response. Interleukin-2 therapy given after injection of irradiated tumor cells caused a significant increase in leukocytic infiltrates and micronecrosis. Our findings indicate that radiation directly affects tumor growth and induces a systemic mechanism which could be enhanced by IL-2.
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