The proliferative response of lymphocytes to phytohemagglutinin stimulation and the effects of cancer sera on normal lymphocyte reactivity were determined in 53 urologic cancer patients. Lymphocyte reactivity tested in non cancer sera was normal in patients with early bladder cancer or renal cell carcinoma but was impaired in their counterparts with advanced tumors. By contrast, lymphocyte reactivity was impaired in patients with clinically localized prostatic carcinoma and those with metastatic disease. Further, patients previously irradiated also manifested significantly impaired lymphocyte reactivity. Statistically significant serum mediated inhibition of normal lymphocyte reactivity was demonstrated only among patients with metastatic prostatic carcinoma, although a strong trend was also observed in patients with metastatic renal carcinoma. The results suggest that PHA induced lymphocyte stimulation can be impaired by differing mechanisms in different tumor types: an intrinsic cellular defect and a serum mediated inhibition.
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