We examined 90 serums from patients with Hodgkin's disease for immune complexes and for reactivity with established monolayer tissue cultures prepared from the tumor. All 23 serums with immunecomplex levels >20 μg per milliliter were found to react with cultured cells of patients with Hodgkin's disease when tested with antiserums against immunoglobulin heavy and light chains and the C3 component of complement. Five of 11 serums with borderline elevations of immune complexes (10 to 20 μg per milliliter) and only four of 56 with levels <10 μg per milliliter reacted. Absorption of patients’ serums with cultured cells removed immune complexes and eliminated binding to monolayers. Immune-complex-containing serums from 19 control patients did not react with cultured cells of patients with Hodgkin's disease; none of the serums reacted with normal cultured spleen. Antibodies within complement-containing immune complexes in serums of patients with Hodgkin's disease react with an antigen on the surface of cultured cells of such patients. (N Engl J Med 297:295–299, 1977) Circulating immune complexes have been demonstrated in serum specimens of patients with Hodgkin's disease.1 2 3 The nephrotic syndrome rarely occurs in association with Hodgkin's disease and may, on occasion, involve deposition of immune complexes within renal glomeruli.3 4 5 Enhanced production of IgG immunoglobulin in vitro by splenic lymphocytes6 and abnormalities of serum complement components7 have been demonstrated in Hodgkin's disease. These findings indicate that the patients, despite defects in cellular immunity,8 9 10 muster a definite antibody response, possibly against tumor-related antigens,11 and produce circulating immune complexes. To determine whether antibody within the immune complexes reacts with cultured cells in Hodgkin's disease, we tested.
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