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Disease-related lymphocyte cytotoxicity in vitro in patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder. Comparisons with other malignancies, acute cystitis, and healthy donors

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Blood lymphocytes from 100 patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder (TCC-bladder) were studied for their cytotoxicity in vitro against a panel of allogeneic tissue culture cell lines. Of the TCC-bladder patients, 45 were untreated for their disease, while 55 had been treated with local radiotherapy up to 12 years before testing. Control lymphocytes were obtained from (1) 45 untreated, age- and sex-matched patients with other neoplastic diseases, mainly urogenital cancers; (2) 19 patients with acute cystitis; and (3) 45 healthy donors. Lymphocytes from individual donors within all five groups were frequently cytotoxic to any one of the target cells. However, the lymphocytes from each of the two TCC-bladder groups were markedly more cytotoxic to two different bladder tumor targets than to control targets derived from normal bladder epithelium, from colon carcinoma, or from malignant melanoma. Similar comparisons made within each of the three control donor groups did not show this. The results indicate that the two bladder tumor targets were not more susceptible to lymphocyte-mediated lysis than the control targets. The mean cytotoxicity displayed by the lymphocytes from both TCC-bladder groups to the bladder tumor targets was significantly higher than that of the cancer control group and that of the healthy donors. No such elevation was seen when the cancer control group or the cystitis patients were compared with healthy donors. Although untreated TCC-patients with a larger tumor burden (stages T3–T4) appeared to be slightly less cytotoxic to all target cells than those with a smaller tumor burden (T1–T2), these differences were not statistically significant. On the other hand, among the treated TCC-patients, in the main those tested more than 1 year and up to 5 years after therapy exhibited a significantly elevated mean cytotoxicity to the bladder tumor targets. Within all five donor groups, the overall cytotoxicity to the bladder tumor targets and the normal bladder targets showed a statistically highly significant correlation. However, while there was no correlation for the untreated TCC-bladder patients and the clinical controls between cytotoxicity to the bladder tumor targets on one hand and non-bladder targets on the other, the cytotoxicity to the bladder tumor targets of the treated TCC-bladder patients was also correlated with that to the colon carcinoma and the melanoma targets. The results indicate that cytotoxicity in both TCC patients and controls reflects recognition by the lymphocytes of a variety of antigens, shared to different degrees by different groups of target cells. Furthermore, in TCC-bladder patients there is a superimposed cytotoxicity, which is related to their disease and which probably reflects reactions against one or several tumor-associated antigens.

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Correspondence to M. Troye.

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Troye, M., Pape, G.R., Larsson, Å. et al. Disease-related lymphocyte cytotoxicity in vitro in patients with transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder. Comparisons with other malignancies, acute cystitis, and healthy donors. Cancer Immunol Immunother 8, 13–26 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00206349

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  • Melanoma
  • Healthy Donor
  • Colon Carcinoma
  • Transitional Cell Carcinoma
  • Normal Bladder