IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma were found to enhance monocyte-mediated activity by acting on both tumor cells and monocytes. The addition of IFN-alpha or IFN-gamma enhanced the monocyte-mediated cytotoxicity of the human melanoma cell line, A375, as well as the human colon carcinoma cell line, HT-29. However, IFN-alpha generally induced more monocyte-mediated lysis of the A375 cells, whereas IFN-gamma induced more monocyte-mediated lysis of the HT-29 cells. These differences are, in part, due to the direct effects of the IFN on the tumor cells. Pretreatment of A375 cells with either IFN-alpha or IFN-gamma significantly enhanced their susceptibility to lysis by untreated monocytes. However, only IFN-gamma pretreatment of HT-29 cells enhanced the lysis of these cells by untreated monocytes. Differences were also observed in the activation of monocytes by IFN-alpha vs IFN-gamma with respect to their ability to induce soluble cytotoxic factors. We found that the addition of IFN-gamma and tumor cells (either the A375 or HT-29 cells) to monocytes induced TNF release, whereas IFN-alpha or IFN-gamma alone or IFN-alpha and tumor cells had no effect. Despite its presence, TNF did not appear to play a major role in the killing of either tumor cell line. However, inhibitors of H2O2-myeloperoxidase system suppressed both IFN-alpha- and IFN-gamma-induced cytotoxicity of the HT-29 cells. Thus IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma can induce both similar and distinct mechanisms of cytotoxicity in monocytes. In addition, both IFN types can increase the susceptibility of tumor cells to lysis by untreated monocytes, although sensitivity to IFN-alpha vs IFN-gamma may vary with different tumor cell lines. These differences observed between IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma on monocytes and tumor cells could have important implications for the clinical use of these cytokines.

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