Potentiation of Interleukin la Mediated Antitumor Effects by Ketoconazole

Paul G. Braunschweiger, Nirmal Kumar, Ioannis Constantinidis, Janna P. Wehrle, Jerry D. Glickson, Candace S. Johnson, Philip Furmanski

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26 Scopus citations


In the present studies, the regulatory role of adrenal hormones on the antitumor activity of recombinant human interleukin lα (IL-lα) was investigated. Ketoconazole, a potent but transient inhibitor of adrenal steroid hormone biosynthesis, inhibited IL-la induced increases in plasma corticosterone. In s.c. RIF-1 tumors (C3H/HeJ mice) ketoconazole potentiated IL-la induced hemorrhagic necrosis (Fe labeled RBC uptake) and prolonged intervals of low tumor perfusion (86Rb+ uptake) and attendant depletion of tumor high energy phosphate reserves as determined by in vivo 31,P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In normal muscle and skin the ketoconazoIe-IL-la combination had no effect on RBC content and little or no effect on tissue perfusion. Ketoconazole potentiation of IL-la induced tumor pathophysiologies was accompanied by time and ketoconazole dose dependent potentiation of RIF-1 tumor clonogenic cell killing. Although ketoconazole at 40 mg/kg and IL-la at 25 Mg/kg alone each produced approximately 50% clonogenic cell kill, a combined treatment (IL-la 1 h after ketoconazole) resulted in surviving fractions of approximately 1.5%. In vitro, ketoconazole and IL-la induced only additive clonogenic cell kill in primary RIF-1 expiant cultures. The effect of elevated plasma corticosterone levels, induced by ketamine-acepromazine anesthesia, on IL-la responsiveness was also studied in the RIF-1 tumor model. In C3H/HeJ mice, anesthesia increased plasma corticosterone levels within 30 min, abrogated the IL-la effect on tumor perfusion, and prevented depletion of tumor high energy phosphate metabolite reserves. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that IL-la mediated adrenal hormone responses exert a profound negative feedback on IL-la antitumor activities. Our data also indicate that adrenal steroid hormone biosynthetic pathways could provide a focus for modulation strategies to increase the efficacy of cytokine based therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4709-4717
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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