A comparison has been made between the growth patterns of two spontaneously appearing mammary adenocarcinomas in murine bone marrow radiation chimeras and in mice preimmunized with monoclonal antibodies (MAb) detecting embryo-associated antigenic determinants. A correlation was seen between the ability of the embryo-immunized chimeras to produce cytotoxic antibody to the tumors, as assessed by an antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxic assay, and the permissiveness of the mice for growth of a tumor transplant. In addition, mice deliberately preimmunized with cytotoxic MAb (antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxic assay) allowed more rapid growth specifically of that tumor earlier found to be most sensitive to the MAb used for immunization. By comparing the changing antigenic phenotype of tumor cells serially passaged through different immunized, nonimmunized mice, evidence was found suggesting that immunization could cause either antigen modulation of transferred tumor cells or a (transient) selective advantage to antigenically discrete subpopulations within the heterogeneous tumor population. Finally, we have studied the growth pattern of tumor cells transplanted into mice immunized with rabbit antibodies directed against the murine MAb. In this case, tumor growth was slowed preferentially for the tumor reactive with the specific MAb, and again, predictable changes in the antigenic spectrum of tumor cells harvested from these animals were observed. Our overall findings are interpreted in terms of the involvement of networks of antibodies reacting with embryo-associated antigens in the regulation of growth of the murine mammary adenocarcinomas studied.

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Supported by the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Medical Research Council of Canada (MA 5440).

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