Lymphocyte responses to stimulation with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) have been compared in 20 patients with large intestinal cancer, 10 patients whose large intestinal cancers have been removed, and in 30 age- and sex-matched control individuals. Responses were markedly reduced in the tumour-bearing patients and were unaffected by substituting normal for autologous plasma during incubation. Responses, however, were normal after tumour resection suggesting that the defect in lymphocyte responsiveness is a reversible one and related to the presence of tumour tissue.
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