Interleukin (IL)-23 is a member of the IL-12 family of heterodimeric cytokines, comprised of p19 and p40 subunits, which exhibits immunostimulatory properties similar to IL-12. We have demonstrated previously that adenoviral-mediated, intratumoral delivery of IL-23 (Ad.IL-23) was able to induce systemic antitumor immunity. Here we demonstrate that Ad.IL-23 requires endogenous IL-12 for conferring an antitumor effect after adenoviral-mediated, intratumoral delivery. In contrast, Ad.IL-12 does not require IL-23 for its antitumor effects although endogenous IL-23 appears important for induction of systemic antitumor immunity by IL-12. However, despite the requirement for endogenous IL-12, co-delivery of IL-23 and IL-12 does not provide even an additive local or systemic antitumor effect, regardless of the dose. We further demonstrate that although the use of a single-chain IL-23 (scIL-23) results in higher level of expression and a more pronounced IL-23-mediated antitumor effect, there is still no synergy with IL-12. These results demonstrate that although significant antitumor effects are achieved by intratumoral injection of adenovirus expressing either scIL-23 or IL-12 alone and that IL-23 requires endogenous IL-12 for maximum antitumor benefit, the combined use of these cytokines provides no additive or synergistic effect.
- interleukin 12
- interleukin 23