Natural killer cell activity, which represents the spontaneous cytotoxicity of lymphocytes toward tumor cells, has been measured in 173 tumor-bearing patients and 25 healthy volunteers; no significant difference was found in mean natural killer cell activity between the two groups. The parameters of interferon-induced activation of natural killer cells were studied in order to provide a suitable test for monitoring the effect of interferon in clinical trials.

The three interferons tested (leukocyte, lymphoblastoid, and fibroblast) were equally active in inducing spontaneous cytotoxicity of lymphocytes from all healthy individuals and tumor-bearing patients studied. Incubation for one hr with 100 units of interferon was sufficient to increase spontaneous cytotoxicity activity, the maximum effect being obtained when lymphocytes were incubated with 1000 units of any of the interferons used. This effect was blocked with the appropriate antiinterferon sera. The target cells for interferon seem to be positive Fcγ receptor lymphocytes.

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This work was supported by grants 47-77-79 and 78-4 082 from Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, from Délégation Générale à la Recherche Scientifique et Technique, and from Comité Inter-sections of Curie Institute.

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