ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to analyse whether Viscum album (mistletoe; Isorel) modulates the tumour-host relationship and whether this might be a basic mechanism of the antitumorous activity of the drug. The effects of a single intraperitoneal injection of the drug (100 mg/kg single 'planta tota' dose) were analysed for mice-bearing melanoma B16F10 growing in the hind limb. Injection of Isorel reduced the size of the tumour and caused abundant tumour necrosis with inflammatory response, oedema and destruction of the malignant tissue. Furthermore, the lymphocytes of saline-treated tumorous mice were not able to respond to the mitogenic lectin concanavalin A in vitro, while those of mistletoe extract-treated mice showed high reactivity too the mitogen, but only if cultured in the medium supplemented with the plasma of the mistletoe extract-treated mice. Moreover, melanoma cells exposed to the mistletoe extract were more sensitive to the cytotoxic activity of the lymphocytes than the control tumour cells, particularly in the presence of the plasma of mistletoe extract-treated mice. The plasma itself, however, did not show any cytotoxic activity. These results indicate that the antitumour activity of the mistletoe drug is due to a modulation of the tumour-host relationship, mediated by direct cytotoxicity of the drug to tumour cells and/or through a potentiation of immune response by certain, as yet unidentified, growth modifying humoral factors of the host.
Anti-Cancer Drugs 05/1997; 8 Suppl 1:S17-22. · 2.41 Impact Factor