The monocyte-macrophage system has long been recognized as a necessary accessory to the immune response. Recently, however, monocyte-macrophages have been shown to be important effectors of cell-mediated cellular cytotoxicity (both antibody dependent and antibody independent). In this study, monocyte-mediated cellular cytotoxicity of both types was assessed on 51Cr-labeled human erythrocytes (type B+) using autologous and standardized AB serum, and monocytes from 57 normal controls, 16 women with benign breast disease, and 175 patients with cancers of the breast (44 patients), colorectum (46 patients), head and neck (33 patients), lung (13 patients), and melanoma (39 patients). Although results were variable, many of the patients had depressed antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity suggesting decreased ability of their monocyte-macrophage to lyse the sensitized erythrocytes. Enhanced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity was observed in patients with localized colorectal cancer, but this effect was reversed in patients with advanced disease. Serum factors did not significantly affect responses in most cases. The clinical relevance of this assay remains to be determined.


This work was supported in part by a grant from the Pratt Foundation, University of Virginia Medical Center.

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