Stimulation of antitumor immune mechanisms is the primary goal of cancer immunotherapy, and accumulating evidence suggests that effective alteration of the host–tumor relationship involves immunomodulating cytokines and also the presence of costimulatory molecules. To examine the antitumor effect of direct
in vivogene transfer of murine interleukin 12 (IL-12) and B7-1 into tumors, we developed an adenovirus (Ad) vector, AdIL12–B7-1, that encodes the two IL-12 subunits in early region 1 (E1) and the B7-1 gene in E3 under control of the murine cytomegalovirus promoter. This vector expressed high levels of IL-12 and B7-1 in infected murine and human cell lines and in primary murine tumor cells. In mice bearing tumors derived from a transgenic mouse mammary adenocarcinoma, a single intratumoral injection with a low dose (2.5 × 107pfu/mouse) of AdIL12–B7-1 mediated complete regression in 70% of treated animals. By contrast, administration of a similar dose of recombinant virus encoding IL-12 or B7-1 alone resulted in only a delay in tumor growth. Interestingly, coinjection of two different viruses expressing either IL-12 or B7-1 induced complete tumor regression in only 30% of animals treated at this dose. Significantly, cured animals remained tumor free after rechallenge with fresh tumor cells, suggesting that protective immunity had been induced by treatment with AdIL12–B7-1. These results support the use of Ad vectors as a highly efficient delivery system for synergistically acting molecules and show that the combination of IL-12 and B7-1 within a single Ad vector might be a promising approach for in vivocancer therapy.