The immune reactivity to partially purified Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen was investigated in patients with lung cancer. The modified method of original leukocyte adherence inhibition test, termed superoxide assay-leukocyte adherence inhibition test, was used to detect the reactivity. The coded peripheral mononuclear cells from 34 of 50 (68%) patients with lung cancer showed a positive response to the antigen whereas in only 3 of 19 (16%) patients with benign pulmonary disease was there a reaction to the antigen.

The same experiments were performed using the 3 m KCI extract of lung tumors as an antigen. In this case in 39 of 50 (78%) patients with lung cancer but in only 4 of 24 (17%) with benign pulmonary disease and in none of the breast cancer patients (0 of 17) was there a reaction to the antigen.

These results strongly suggest that patients with lung cancer are sensitized to both Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen and tumor-associated antigens expressed in cancer cells of lung tissue origin.

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This study was supported in part by a grant-in-aid for cancer research from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Japan.

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