Cancer immunotherapy using cells modified with cytokine genes.

  • Dariusz W Kowalczyk Department of Cancer Immunology, Great Poland Cancer Center, University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland.;
  • Piotr J Wysocki
  • Andrzej Mackiewicz


The ability of various cytokines to hamper tumor growth or to induce anti-tumor immune response has resulted in their study as antitumor agents in gene therapy approaches. In this review we will concentrate on the costimulation of antitumor immune responses using modification of various cell types by cytokine genes. Several strategies have emerged such as (i). modification of tumor cells with cytokine genes ex vivo (whole tumor cell vaccines), (ii). ex vivo modification of other cell types for cytokine gene delivery, (iii). delivery of cytokine genes into tumor microenvironment in vivo, (iv). modification of dendritic cells with cytokine genes ex vivo. Originally single cytokine genes were used. Subsequently, multiple cytokine genes were applied simultaneously, or in combination with other factors such as chemokines, membrane bound co-stimulatory molecules, or tumor associated antigens. In this review we discuss these strategies and their use in cancer treatment as well as the promises and limitations of cytokine based cancer gene therapy. Clinical trials, including our own experience, employing the above strategies are discussed.