Interferon gamma protects against hepatic tumor growth in rats by increasing Kupffer cell tumoricidal activity



An increasing number of hepatic resections are being performed as potentially curative surgery for malignant liver neoplasms. Hepatectomy and subsequent liver regeneration produce a local environment that enhances growth of microscopic residual tumor. To determine if pretreatment with murine interferon γ (IFN-γ) can protect against such enhanced tumor growth, Buffalo rats were randomized to receive a 3-day treatment of IFN-γ (50,000 U/qD intraperitoneally) or saline. Groups then underwent intrasplenic injection of 10(6) Morris hepatoma cells, followed 1 hour later by sham (control) or partial hepatectomy (PH) of 70%. PH significantly enhanced tumor growth within the liver control, 8 ± 3 nodules per liver; PH, 73 ± 12 nodules per liver; P < .001). This enhancement was attenuated by prior administration of IFN-γ IFN-γ/PH, 16 ± 3; P < .001 vs. PH). Growth factor release and liver regeneration were not affected significantly by pretreatment with IFN-γ. The effect of IFN-γ on tumor growth is associated with a significant enhancement of Kupffer cell (KC)-mediated tumoricidal activity (percentage of specific lysis, 55 ± 10% control, 78 ± 11% IFN-γ, P < .01) but not lymphocyte-mediated tumoricidal activity. Because microscopic residual disease may be present after hepatectomies for cancer, IFN-γ may be useful agent in retarding growth of residual tumors.