IL-6 possesses multiple biologic activities that affect a broad range of cells including those directly involved in immune responses as well as cells important in the systemic response to infection or trauma. We now show that purified human rIL-6, when administered alone at relatively high doses that are comparable to therapeutic levels of IL-2, mediated substantial reductions in the number of pulmonary and hepatic micrometastases from four distinct syngeneic tumors. Unlike IL-2, IL-6 injections resulted in neither observable toxicity nor death of the treated mice at the dose regimens used. Host immunosuppression by sublethal total-body irradiation before the initiation of therapy prevented the IL-6 antitumor effect, thus suggesting that IL-6 acted through a radiosensitive host component rather than directly on the tumor itself. Moreover, the systemic administration of relatively low doses of IL-6 in combination with subtherapeutic doses of TNF to mice bearing an established weakly immunogenic, syngeneic tumor at a subcutaneous site resulted in marked tumor regression and cure rates. These studies represent the first demonstration of tumor regression mediated by recombinant IL-6 in vivo.

This content is only available as a PDF.