Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-immortalized human B cells survive only transiently when injected subcutaneously into athymic mice, whereas Burkitt's lymphoma cells give rise to progressively growing subcutaneous tumors. In this study, we tested whether these Burkitt's tumors could be induced to regress via a bystander effect induced by EBV-immortalized B cells. Simultaneous inoculation of EBV-immortalized B cells and Burkitt's lymphoma cells in the same subcutaneous site resulted in tumors that regressed with necrosis and scarring. Similarly, simultaneous inoculation of EBV-immortalized B cells and Burkitt's lymphoma cells in separate subcutaneous sites resulted in regression of a proportion of the Burkitt's tumors. Furthermore, most of the established human Burkitt's tumors regressed with necrosis and scarring after intratumor inoculations with EBV-immortalized B cells. The EBV-immortalized B cells continued to exert this antitumor effect even when killed with irradiation. The experimental approach to Burkitt's lymphoma treatment described here exploits the ability of athymic mice to reject EBV-immortalized B cells to target an effective antitumor response to malignant cells normally incapable of eliciting it.

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