Levels of Cytotoxic Reactivity to Cultured Normal Skin Fibroblasts in Sera from Normal and Sarcoma-bearing Patients

Michael S. Catapano, John M. Brown, Steven A. Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Human sera possess complement-dependent cytotoxic reactivity against autologous and allogeneic cultured normal skin fibroblasts. Previous studies indicated that the natural antibody reactivity is directed against fetal antigens expressed on these cells in tissue culture. The reactivity was further characterized in the present study. Chromatographic analysis of a normal serum indicated that its reactivity belonged to the immunoglobulin M (19S) class of immunoglobulins. Sera from 22 preoperative tumor-bearing osteogenic sarcoma patients, 30 tumor-bearing soft-tissue sarcoma patients, and 52 age and sex-matched normal individuals were tested against allogeneic skin fibroblasts. The patient and normal groups displayed wide, overlapping ranges of cytotoxicity. The osteogenic sarcoma group showed a small but significant increase in mean cytotoxicity compared to the controls, whereas the soft-tissue sarcoma sera were not significantly different from the controls. Reactivities in the sera of patients whose tumors recurred were not significantly different from those of the patients who remained disease free. Cytotoxic levels in sera from eight osteogenic sarcoma patients followed throughout the clinical course remained constant up to the time of documented recurrence and were not affected by surgical removal of the primary tumor or Bacillus Calmette-Guerin immunotherapy. In three of four patients whose tumors recurred, cytotoxic levels fell, but only after documented recurrence. The natural antibody reactivity against normal fibroblasts does not appear useful as a marker for diagnosis, prognosis, or monitoring tumor presence in sarcoma patients. also been described (7, 16). Considerable evidence exists that tumor cells, both in vitro and in vivo, express fetal antigens (reviewed in Ref. 25). We sought to determine, therefore, whether the levels of normal skin fibroblast reactivity in the sera of sarcoma patients correlated with the presence of disease and clinical course. Measurements were made of the lytic reactivity in the sera of tumor-bearing osteosarcoma patients, soft-tissue sarcoma patients, and age and sex-matched normal controls tested against tissue-cultured allogeneic normal human skin fibroblasts. The sera of several osteosarcoma patients were followed throughout their clinical course to determine whether the fibroblast reactivity correlated with clinical events. Additionally, a chromatographic analysis of a reactive normal human serum was performed to determine the class of the natural antibody reactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)979-983
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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