Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Prognostic significance of expression of antigens on melanoma cells

  • 9 Accesses

  • 9 Citations


The expression of antigens on 33 human melanoma cells obtained directly from surgically excised tumours was investigated by means of antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxic assays. Antisera used in the study were two antisera from human melanoma patients against different tumour-associated antigens on melanoma cells and antisera against carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and β2 microglobulin (β2M). Considerable heterogeneity was observed in the expression of both melanoma-associated and non-melanoma antigens on melanoma cells from 33 different patients.

Patients whose tumours were reactive with the melanoma-associated antiserum (CHI) had a significantly longer remission period to stage 2 melanoma. The period to development of stage 3 melanoma also appeared longer, but this was not statistically significant with the number of patients available for study. The expression of CEA, β2M, and the tumour-associated antigen TIN was not significantly related to the recurrence-free interval. There appeared to be a reciprocal expression of the two melanoma-associated antigens, and patients with tumours expressing CHI but not TIN had a significantly longer recurrence-free interval than patients whose tumours had the opposite antigenic pattern.

In the limited number of patients available for study the expression of the antigen CHI did not appear related to thickness of the primary tumour or to immune response of the patients to melanoma cells in leucocyte-dependent antibody and natural killer cell assays. Although the nature of the association between expression of this antigen and longer remission-free period is unknown these results suggest that the expression of certain melanoma antigens on the cell surface may be an important additional variable which has prognostic and therapeutic importance.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1

    Böyum A (1968) Isolation of mononuclear cells and granulocytes from human blood. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 21:77

  2. 2

    Breslow A (1975) Tumour thickness, level of invasion and node dissection in Stage I cutaneous melanoma. Ann Surg 182:572

  3. 3

    Fauve RM, Hevin B, Jacob H, Gaillard JA, Jacobs F (1974) Anti-inflammatory effects of murine malignant cells. Proc Nat Acad Sci 71:4052

  4. 4

    Folkman J, Merler E, Abernathy C, Williams G (1971) Isolation of a tumour factor responsible for angiogenesis. J Exp Med 133:275

  5. 5

    Greaves MF, Janossy G (1978) Patterns of gene expression and the cellular origins of human leukaemias. Biochim Biophys Acta 516:193

  6. 6

    Hellström KE, Hellström I (1974) Lymphocyte-mediated cytotoxicity and blocking serum activity to tumour antigens. Adv Immunol 18:209

  7. 7

    Hersey P, Honeyman M, Edwards A, Adams E, McCarthy W (1976) Antigens on melanoma cells detected by leukocyte dependent antibody assays of human melanoma antisera. Int J Cancer 18:564

  8. 8

    Hersey P, Edwards A, Milton GW, McCarthy WH (1978) Relationship of cell-mediated cytotoxicity against melanoma cells to prognosis in melanoma patients. Br J Cancer 37:505

  9. 9

    Hersey P, Murray E, Werkmeister J, McCarthy W (1979) Detection of a low-molecular-weight antigen on melanoma cells by a human anti-serum in leukocyte-dependent antibody assays. Br J Cancer 40:615

  10. 10

    Lewis MG, Proctor JW, Thomson DMP, Rowden G, Phillips TM (1976) Cellular localization of immunoglobulin within malignant melanomata. Br J Cancer 33:260

  11. 11

    Nelson M, Nelson DS (1978) Macrophages and resistance to tumours. I. Inhibition of delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions by tumour cells and by soluble products affecting macrophages. Immunology 34:277

  12. 12

    Peto R, Pike MC, Armitage P, Breslow NE, Cox DR, Howard SV, Mantel N, McPherson K, Peto T, Smith PG (1977) Design and analysis of randomized clinical trials requiring prolonged observations of each patient. Br J Cancer 35:1

  13. 13

    Pike MC, Snyderman R (1976) Depression of macrophage function by a factor produced by neoplasms: A mechanism for abrogation of immune surveillance. J Immunol 117:1243

  14. 14

    Werkmeister J, Zbroja R, McCarthy W, Hersey P (1979) Detection of an inhibitor of cell division in cultures of tumour cells with immunosuppressive activity in vitro. Clin Exp Immunol 40:168

  15. 15

    Wilson EL, Dowdle E (1978) Secretion of plasminogen activator by normal reactive and neoplastic human tissues cultured in vitro. Int J Cancer 22:390

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to P. Hersey.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Werkmeister, J., Edwards, A., McCarthy, W. et al. Prognostic significance of expression of antigens on melanoma cells. Cancer Immunol Immunother 9, 233–240 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00200005

Download citation


  • Melanoma
  • Natural Killer Cell
  • Melanoma Cell
  • Human Melanoma
  • Human Melanoma Cell