Immunologic reactivity in patients with primary operable breast cancer Academic Article Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Bradycardia
  • Echocardiography
  • Fetal Diseases


  • Immune reactivity was measured in 134 patients with operable breast cancer and 63 patients with benign breast disease who were tested at the time of breast surgery. The DNCB response was essentially normal in patients who had infiltrating cancer but no regional node metastases (89% were DNCB positive) and was only slightly but not significantly depressed in patients with infiltrating cancer who had nodal metastases (80% were DNCB positive). There was impairment of certain in vitro tests of cellular immune function. There were no significant differences between the patients with cancer and benign breast disease in the mean lymphocyte responses to mitogens and antigens but there were significantly larger proportions of cancer patients with lymphocyte responses below selected cutoff values for several lymphocyte stimulants. The absolute lymphocyte and T cell counts were normal, but there was a small but significant increase in B cells bearing surface immunoglobulins in the breast cancer patients. Serum immunoglobulin levels (IgA, IgG and IgM) were normal in both patient groups. Immune function was also correlated with the pathologic extent of disease or „risk of recurrence.” Only lymphocyte stimulation with PHA showed a continued decrease with increasing extent of disease (p < .05), whereas lymphocyte stimulation with other mitogens and antigens showed a decrease from benign to low risk patients and then a paradoxical increase with increasing amount of disease. There were no distinctive correlations of lymphocyte levels nor of lymphocyte subpopulations, nor of skin test results when these were analyzed according to the prognostic categories of risk. Copyright © 1978 American Cancer Society

publication date

  • January 1978



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/1097-0142(197801)41:1<84::AID-CNCR2820410113>3.0.CO;2-X

PubMed ID

  • 304759

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 84

end page

  • 94


  • 41


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