An assessment of the effects of swainsonine on survival of mice injected with B16-F10 melanoma cells

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Systemic administration of swainsonine, an indolizidine alkaloid, inhibits the experimental metastasis of B16-F10 murine melanoma cells. This activity can be attributed primarily to swainsonine-mediated enhancement of host natural killer cell activity. As one next step towards investigating the potential therapeutic utility of this drug, its efficacy in enhancing host survival in the same B16-F10 model system has been assessed. In studies employing intravenously injected tumor cells, pretreatment of mice with swainsonine-containing drinking water provided a reproducible protective effect for the host. This prolongation of survival was substantially enhanced when swainsonine was administered in combination with either of two other immunomodulators, polyinosinic : cytidylic acid (poly-IC) or interleukin-2. In studies in which combinations of these agents were administered after intravenous injection of tumor cells, or after subcutaneous implantation, a greatly reduced effect on host survival was observed. However, when used in combination with cyclophosphamide (to block the effects of suppressor T cells), swainsonine did increase mean survival time. The implications of these results for the use of swainsonine in treatment of metastatic or localized disease, together with its potential mechanism(s) of action, are discussed. © 1990 Taylor & Francis Ltd.

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