The mechanisms of tumor rejection were investigated by using a therapeutic model system involving treatment of C57BL/6J (B6) mice bearing the syngeneic MCA/76-9 or the unrelated MCA/76-64 sarcomas with cytoxan and tumor-sensitized T lymphocytes. Separated tumor-associated T lymphocytes (TAL) and tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) isolated from the regressing tumors 8 to 10 days after combination therapy expressed relatively specific cytotoxicity in vitro, whereas the unseparated tumor-associated cells (TAC), consisting of a mixture of TAL and TAM, expressed nonspecific cytotoxicity. TAM-mediated cytotoxicity was not dependent on the presence of TAL, as shown by T cell depletion of TAM or TAC cultures with the use of monoclonal anti-Thy-1 or anti-Lyt-2 antibody and complement. In contrast, the nonspecific cytotoxicity was dependent on the presence of T cells. In vivo assays using the Winn test failed to confirm certain aspects of the in vitro data. Without exception, the TAC inhibited tumor growth in an immunologically specific manner, having no effect on the growth of the unrelated B6 sarcoma. T cell depletion completely abrogated in vivo cytotoxicity. Specificity of tumor growth inhibition was confirmed in a bystander experiment in which TAC were mixed with both tumor cell types and were injected into recipient B6 mice. Tumors grew under these conditions, but the tumor that grew consisted only of those tumor cells toward which TAC cytotoxicity was not specifically directed. A bioassay indicated that the specifically immune antitumor effects at the site of regression were initiated between days 3 and 7 after combination therapy. By days 7 and 9, few tumorigenic stem cells could be detected at the tumor site. However, T cell depletion of the TAC isolated on days 8 to 10 resulted in enhanced tumor growth when the depleted TAC were injected into recipient mice. The conclusions reached were that tumor rejection was absolutely dependent on T cell participation at the tumor site, and that if TAM were involved, they required the presence of TAL and did not express nonspecific antitumor cytotoxicity. Indeed, the accelerated tumor growth seen in the absence of TAL suggested the possibility that TAM were growth stimulatory.

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