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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.


Journal article



Publication Date





1229 - 1232


Adult Aged Aged, 80 and over Carcinoma, Small Cell/blood Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay Female Humans Lymphoma/blood Middle Aged Neoplasms/*blood Ovarian Neoplasms/blood Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/biosynthesis/*blood