Evidence for tumour necrosis factor/cachectin production in cancer
Balkwill F., Osborne R., Burke F., Naylor S., Talbot D., Durbin H., Tavernier J., Fiers W.
Labile tumour-necrosis-factor-like (TNF) activity was detected by means of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 50% of 226 freshly obtained serum samples from cancer patients with active disease. In contrast, only 3% of 32 samples from normal subjects and 18% of 39 samples from cancer patients with no clinically evident disease were positive for this factor, with low levels of activity. Greater proportions of serum samples from patients with ovarian or oat-cell carcinoma were positive (69% and 63%) than those from patients with lymphoma (26%). RNA preparations from peripheral-blood mononuclear cells and solid tumours were probed with TNF complementary DNA; evidence of TNF messenger RNA was found in 8 of 11 samples of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells from cancer patients, but only 1 of 8 normal subjects, and in 2 of 6 colorectal tumours. As yet the inducing stimulus and the clinical significance of TNF production in cancer are not understood.