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August 1973

Cell-Mediated Immunity to Human TumorsAbrogation by Serum Factors and Nonspecific Effects of Oral BCG Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery (Drs. Falk and Langer), Institute of Immunology (Dr. Falk), and Institute of Medical Science (Drs. Falk and Mann), University of Toronto.

Arch Surg. 1973;107(2):261-265. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350200123026

The reactivity of peripheral blood leukocytes from patients with carcinoma of the gastrointestinal tract and malignant melanoma was assessed by the leukocyte migration technique to membrane fractions of histologically similar and unrelated tumors. Inhibition of migration was observed when the tumor membranes were derived from histologically similar tumors but not with those from unrelated tumors. Normal volunteers' leukocytes failed to inhibit with either type of tumor membrane antigen.

Inhibition of migration was noted when the leukocytes were cultured in serum-free medium. Autologous serum produced complete abrogation of the response, but decreased inhibition of migration was also noted when allogeneic serum was added to the culture medium.

Seven patients with disseminated melanoma were treated with BCG therapy administered repeatedly by the oral route. This type of treatment effected a regression in three of seven patients and had prevented tumor progression in an additional two patients. No alteration in the reactivity of these patients' leukocytes to tumor membrane antigens was noted during the course of the therapy.