Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) produced by tumor cells after gene transfer can effectively suppress the growth of locally growing tumors. We wanted to test the effects of "local" TNF on the growth of a highly metastatic cell line. Therefore, a recombinant retrovirus allowing expression of the TNF gene by the beta-actin promotor has been constructed and used to infect the two tumor cell lines EB and ESB, which grow as solid tumor or metastasize, respectively. Expression of TNF by EB cells resulted in their rapid and dose-dependent rejection. In sharp contrast, mice injected with ESB cells producing similar amounts of TNF showed no signs of tumor suppression, but rather had reduced survival rates that correlated with enhanced hepatic metastases. The accelerated formation of liver metastases by ESB TNF cells could be reversed by an anti-TNF mAb. These results demonstrate the opposite effects TNF may have on tumor growth: suppression of a locally growing tumor and promotion of metastasis formation.

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