Antitumor Effect of Vitamin D-Binding Protein-Derived Macrophage Activating Factor on Ehrlich Ascites Tumor-Bearing Mice


Nobuto Yamamoto Laboratory of Cancer Immunology and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein Cancer Center, Korman Research Pavilion B-31, 5501 Old York Road, Philadelphia, PA 19141.


Cancerous cells secrete α-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (NaGalase) into the blood stream, resulting in deglycosylation of serum vitamin D3-binding protein (known as Gc protein), which is a precursor for macrophage activating factor (MAF). Incubation of Gc protein with immobilized β-galactosidase and sialidase generates the most potent macrophage activating factor (designated GcMAF). Administration of GcMAF to cancer-bearing hosts can bypass the inactivated MAF precursor and act directly on macrophages for efficient activation. Therapeutic effects of GcMAF on Ehrlich ascites tumor-bearing mice were assessed by survival time and serum NaGalase activity, because serum NaGalase activity was proportional to tumor burden. A single administration of GcMAF (100 pg/mouse) to eight mice on the same day after transplantation of the tumor (5 × 105 cells) showed a mean survival time of 21 ± 3 days for seven mice, with one mouse surviving more than 60 days, whereas tumor-bearing controls had a mean survival time of 13 ± 2 days. Six of the eight mice that received two GcMAF administrations, at Day 0 and Day 4 after transplantation, survived up to 31 ± 4 days whereas, the remaining two mice survived for more than 60 days. Further, six of the eight mice that received three GcMAF administrations with 4-day intervals showed an extended survival of at least 60 days, and serum NaGalase levels were as low as those of control mice throughout the survival period. The cure with subthreshold GcMAF-treatments (administered once or twice) of tumor-bearing mice appeared to be a consequence of sustained macrophage activation by inflammation resulting from the macrophage-mediated tumoricidal process. Therefore, a protracted macrophage activation induced by a few administrations of minute amounts of GcMAF eradicated the murine ascites tumor.