Deakin University

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Vascular attack by 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid combined with B7.1 (CD80)-mediated immunotherapy overcomes immune resistance and leads to the eradication of large tumors and multiple tumor foci

journal contribution
posted on 2001-03-01, 00:00 authored by Jagat Kanwar, Rupinder Kanwar, S Pandey, L M Ching, G Krissansen
The promise of cancer immunotherapy is that it will not only eradicate primary tumors but will generate systemic antitumor immunity capable of destroying distant metastases. A major problem that must first be surmounted relates to the immune resistance of large tumors. Here we reveal that immune resistance can be overcome by combining immunotherapy with a concerted attack on the tumor vasculature. The functionally related antitumor drugs 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) and flavone acetic acid (FAA), which cause tumor vasculature collapse and tumor necrosis, were used to attack the tumor vasculature, whereas the T-cell costimulator B7.1 (CD80), which costimulates T-cell proliferation via the CD28 pathway, was used to stimulate antitumor immunity. The injection of cDNA (60–180 µg) encoding B7.1 into large EL-4 tumors (0.8 cm in diameter) established in C57BL/6 mice, followed 24 h later by i.p. administration of either DMXAA (25 mg/kg) or FAA (300 mg/kg), resulted in complete tumor eradication within 2–6 weeks. In contrast, monotherapies were ineffective. Both vascular attack and B7.1 immunotherapy led to up-regulation of heat shock protein 70 on stressed and dying tumor cells, potentially augmenting immunotherapy. Remarkably, large tumors took on the appearance of a wound that rapidly ameliorated, leaving perfectly healed skin. Combined therapy was mediated by CD8+ T cells and natural killer cells, accompanied by heightened and prolonged antitumor cytolytic activity (P < 0.001), and by a marked increase in tumor cell apoptosis. Cured animals completely rejected a challenge of 1 x 107 parental EL-4 tumor cells but not a challenge of 1 x 104 Lewis lung carcinoma cells, demonstrating that antitumor immunity was tumor specific. Adoptive transfer of 2 x 108 splenocytes from treated mice into recipients bearing established (0.8 cm in diameter) tumors resulted in rapid and complete tumor rejection within 3 weeks. Although DMXAA and B7.1 monotherapies are complicated by a narrow range of effective doses, combined therapy was less dosage dependent. Thus, a broad range of amounts of B7.1 cDNA were effective in combination with 25 mg/kg DMXAA. In contrast, DMXAA, which has a very narrow range of high active doses, was effective at a low dose (18 mg/kg) when administered with a large amount (180 µg) of B7.1 cDNA. Importantly, combinational therapy generated heightened antitumor immunity, such that gene transfer of B7.1 into one tumor, followed by systemic DMXAA treatment, led to the complete rejection of multiple untreated tumor nodules established in the opposing flank. These findings have important implications for the future direction and utility of cancer immunotherapies aimed at harnessing patients’ immune responses to their own tumors.



Cancer research






1948 - 1956


American Association for Cancer Research


Birmingham, Ala.







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2001, American Association for Cancer Research

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