Cytotoxic antibody reactivity in sera of melanoma patients against allogeneic and autologous cultured tumor cells and fibroblasts

John M. Brown, Patricia C. Shoffnei, William D. Terrv, S. P. Tondreau, Edwin J. Matthews, Steven A. Rosenberg

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2 Scopus citations


Using a complement-dependent microcytotoxicity assay, sera from melanoma patients were analyzed for antibody reactivity with cultured melanoma and normal adult skin fibroblasts. Sera from Stage I tumor-bearing patients prior to surgical excision, poor-prognosis Stage I and Stage ll patients after tumor excision and lymphadenectomy but prior to adjuvant therapy, and normal individuals with a similar age and sex distribution were tested against a melanoma-fibroblast pair from an allogeneic donor. The groups displayed a wide range of cytotoxicity against both cell types, and no serum possessed melanoma-specific reactivity. Mean cytotoxicity of the Stage I tumor-bearing group was not significantly different (p > 0.05) from that of the normal group for either target cell, and patients whose tumors went on to recur were not different from nonrecurrent patients. The Stage I and II postlymphadenectomy patients were not different from the normals in fibroblast reactivity. However, melanoma reactivity was significantly higher in the postlymphadenectomy patients than the normals (p < 0.02). This was the result of an elevated reactivity in the patient population who remained disease free compared to patients whose tumors went on to recur (p < 0.01), although a large overlap existed between these two groups. Cytotoxicity against autologous melanoma and fibroblasts was observed with sera obtained throughout the clinical course of four Stage II patients, and no melanoma-specific reactivity was detected. Absorption with cultured fetal fibroblasts of sera from Stage II patients both before and after immunotherapy with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin and allogeneic melanoma removed reactivity against allogeneic and autologous melanoma and adult fibroblasts. Therefore, the predominant antibody reactivity detected in these patients was directed against common fetal fibroblast-associated antigens, and no evidence was obtained for the presence of antibodies reactive with unique or shared tumor-specific antigens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2216-2222
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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