Phenotypic profile of clones from early cultures of human metastatic melanomas and its modulation by recombinant interferon γ

A. Anichini, R. Mortarini, G. Fossati, G. Parmiani

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Fifty-six tumor clones isolated by cloning in soft agar from early cultures (before the 10th in vitro passage) of two different human metastatic melanomas (Me9229 and Me28) were characterized by FACS analysis for surface expression of class-I and class-II HLA antigens and of melanoma-associated antigens (MAA) with a panel of 15 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). A marked phenotypic heterogeneity involving MAA and/or HLA markers was observed among the clones derived from both tumors. The differences among the tumor clones and between them and the uncloned melanoma were qualitative and quantitative for each antigen considered. Clones derived from Me9229 expressed the same HLA profile as the parental culture (class I+, class II-) while strong heterogeneity was observed for MAA expression. Clones from Me28 presented a marked heterogeneity for class-I and class-II HLA antigens but were more homogeneous for MAA. The phenotype of the clones was repeatedly checked over the first month in culture and found to remain generally unchanged and not linked to the cell cycle. However, major changes in antigen expression of the clones could be observed upon treatment with recombinant interferon-γ (rIFN-γ): class-I and -II HLA antigens could be induced or augmented while a moderate inhibition was seen on MAA expression. Furthermore, an apparent hierarchy in expression and/or induction of class-II antigens by rIFN-γ was observed among the tumor clones. DR antigens were more frequently expressed (Me28 clones) and upon treatment with rIFN-γ reached higher levels than DP and DQ products. Taken together these results indicate that antigenic heterogeneity for MAA and HLA antigens can be detected in cells isolated from early cultures of human metastatic melanomas and suggest that the original uncloned tumor might be considered as a complex mixed population made up of a number of neoplastic cells each expressing a distinct phenotype which can be modulated by lymphokines such as IFN-γ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-511
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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