Blood group-like activity released by human mammary carcinoma cells in culture


TUMOUR cells synthesise and release antigenic membrane associated components which circulate either in a free state or complexed with host immunoglobulins1–5. A membrane derived N-like glycoprotein, which inhibited Vicia graminea lectin haemagglutination, has been demonstrated in serum and ascites fluid of mice bearing the Ha subline of TA3 murine mammary adenocarcinoma6. Springer et al.7 have shown that M and N blood group reactive substances were present in both benign and malignant lesions of the human breast. But, T-like Arachis hypogaea reactive substances were only found in malignant breast tissue and not in benign tumours or healthy breast tissue7. Isolation and long term cultivation of a human mammary tumour cell line. BOT-2 was recently reported8. Immunological tests indicated that women with diagnosed mammary cancer had circulating antibodies that reacted with these cells9 and induced cell surface shedding10. Here we report the use of blood-typing antisera and lectins to characterise the proteins synthesised and spontaneously released from BOT-2 cells growing in defined medium. To our knowledge this is the first demonstration of M, N, T, Tn erythrocyte-like glycoproteins being spontaneously shed from human epithelial tumour cells in culture.

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ANGLIN, J., LERNER, M. & NORDQUIST, R. Blood group-like activity released by human mammary carcinoma cells in culture. Nature 269, 254–255 (1977).

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