Monocytes are a subpopulation of peripheral blood leukocytes, which when appropriately activated by the regulatory hormones of the immune system, are capable of becoming macrophages--potent effector cells for immune response to tumors and parasites. A complementary DNA for the T lymphocyte-derived lymphokine, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), has been cloned, and recombinant GM-CSF protein has been expressed in yeast and purified to homogeneity. This purified human recombinant GM-CSF stimulated peripheral blood monocytes in vitro to become cytotoxic for the malignant melanoma cell line A375. Another T cell-derived lymphokine, gamma-interferon (IFN-gamma), also stimulated peripheral blood monocytes to become tumoricidal against this malignant cell line. When IFN-gamma activates monocytes to become tumoricidal, additional stimulation by exogenously added lipopolysaccharide is required. No such exogenous signals were required for the activation of monocytes by GM-CSF.

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