Inflammatory cell infiltrates in human melanoma at different stages of tumor progression

E. B. Bröcker, G. Zwadlo, B. Holzmann, E. Macher, C. Sorg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Progression of human melanoma is associated with changes in antigenic phenotypes of tumor cells. To establish whether inflammatory infiltrates in progressing melanoma also change, we studied 146 cutaneous melanomas at different stages of progression. Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against lymphocyte and macrophage subpopulations, interteukin‐2 receptor (IL‐2 R), immune interferon (IFN‐γ), and the IFN‐γ‐inducible, progression‐associated melanoma antigens HLA‐DR and gp89 were applied in situ. During the course of melanoma progression, decreased amounts of peri tu moral T cells, IL‐2 R‐ex‐pressing lymphocytes and dermal T6+ dendritic cells were found, while increased numbers of intraiumoral T cells, inflammatory (27E10+) and mature (25F9+) macrophages were associated with local progression of primary melanomas. In metastases, most infiltrate components except 25F9+ macrophages were rare. Positive correlations were observed between: (1) dermal T6+ cells and IL‐2 R+ lymphocytes, and (2) presence of IFN‐γ in the infiltrate and HLA‐DR and gp89 antigens on tumor cells. In all stages, HLA‐DR expression on tumor cells was correlated with: (1) a shift towards T8+ lymphocytes in the infiltrates and (2) a loss of IL‐2 R expression. Our data suggest mutual influences between melanoma cells and mononudear cell infiltrates in situ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-567
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Apr 1988
Externally publishedYes


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