Tumor-associated antigen was found by reacting sera from two patients with giant cell tumor of bone with cells derived from their tumors, using autologous serum as intermediate reactant and fluorescein-conjugated goat antihuman IgG as final reactant. Approximately 40% of the plump, spindle-shaped cells that formed the background stroma of these tumors possessed the antigen; however, it was not present on giant cells. Fluorescence was much greater than that on similarly stained cells from 4 osteogenic sarcomas, suggesting that the antigenic density on cells from giant cell tumor was greater than that on cells from osteogenic sarcoma. Antibodies in sera from giant cell tumor patients and osteogenic sarcoma patients showed specific cross-reactivity. Stromal cells of giant cell tumors were established in culture and retained tumor-associated antigen, whereas giant cells failed to divide and detached from the flask within two weeks. Intensity of fluorescence (antigenic density) decreased with progressive passage levels, but a larger percentage of cells showed fluorescence. At the tenth passage, all cells bore tumor-associated antigen. Cultured cells that were injected s.c. into mice formed progressively growing nodules, the cells of which were morphologically indistinguishable from stromal cells of the original tumor; all cells retained tumor-associated antigen, but antigenic density had decreased to about one-seventh of the value found originally. No giant cells were present in the nodules.


This work was supported in part by USPHS Grant HD-05894, by Contract E 73-2001-NOI-CP-3-3237 with the Virus Cancer Program of the National Cancer Institute, and by American Cancer Society Grant IM-16 G.

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