Subpopulations of human T-lymphocytes. XIX. T-cells and T-cells with receptors for IgMFc (Tμ), IgGFc (Tγ), or IgAFc (Tα) in the peripheral blood and regional lymph nodes of patients with untreated breast cancer
Peripheral blood and regional lymph node mononuclear cells from 43 untreated patients with breast cancer were analyzed for the proportions of total T-cells and T-cells with receptors for the Fc portion of IgM (T mu), IgG (T gamma), or IgA (T alpha). Proportions of total T-cells and T mu cells both in peripheral blood and lymph nodes from breast cancer patients were comparable to those from health controls. The proportion of T gamma cells, however, was significantly (P less than 0.01) increased in the peripheral blood and lymph nodes from breast cancer patients as compared to that from controls. The proportion of T alpha in the peripheral blood was comparable; however, when compared to the number of T alpha cells in control lymph nodes, T alpha cells were increased (P less than 0.025) in the regional lymph nodes from patients with breast cancer. When data on the proportions of T-cells and T-cell subsets were analyzed according to the presence or absence of metastatic disease in the regional lymph nodes, the proportion of T gamma cells was significantly (P less than 0.025) higher in the peripheral blood from patients with metastatic disease than in patients with nonmetastatic disease. This study demonstrates an abnormality of T-cell subsets in the peripheral blood and the regional lymph nodes from patients with breast cancer. The significance of these observations is discussed.