The unseparated leucocytes, separated mononuclear cells and granulocytes of six control subjects and nine patients with colorectal cancer have been studied by a direct cell migration inhibition technique. A migratory index was calculated from the migration in the presence and absence of a perchloric acid extract of large bowel tumours. In 10% homologous AB serum, no significant migration inhibition occurred with any of the cells from control subjects. Five of the nine cancer patients showed significant inhibition with their unseparated leucocytes, seven of seven with their mononuclear cells, and none of nine with their granulocytes. In 10% autologous serum, some controls exhibited migration inhibition with their unseparated leucocytes and their granulocyte fraction, but not with the mononuclear cell fraction. Migration inhibition was also now apparent in the granulocyte fraction of the cancer patients. It is concluded that, with a soluble tumour antigen preparation, a mononuclear cell population increases the sensitivity of the direct migration inhibition test and that autologous serum may interfere directly with the migration of granulocytes, by an action not dependent upon the release of inhibitory factors from sensitized lymphocytes. This could explain some of the inconsistencies of the assay when using an unseparated leucocyte population.
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