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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 May;86(10):3787-91.

Idiotypic cascades in cancer patients treated with monoclonal antibody CO17-1A.

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  • 1Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, Philadelphia, PA 19104.


We have previously shown that gastrointestinal cancer patients treated with monoclonal antibody CO17-1A (Ab1) developed anti-idiotypic antibodies (Ab2) to the Ab1. We now demonstrate that patients produce anti-anti-idiotypic antibodies (Ab3) to their autologous Ab2. Ab3 were demonstrated in culture supernatants of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from five Ab1-treated patients after stimulation of the cells with heterologous Ab2 that functionally mimicked the tumor antigen (Ag) defined by Ab1 and immunologically cross reacted with the patients' Ab2. Ab3 shared idiotopes with Ab1 and were Ab1-like in their binding specificities to tumor cells, Ag, and Ab2. Such antibodies were also elicited by stimulating cells with Ag. However, they were not produced by stimulating posttreatment mononuclear cells with control proteins or by stimulating pretreatment cells with either Ag or Ab2. Our results demonstrate idiotypic cascades in cancer patients treated with monoclonal antibody. Ag-specific Ab3 responses may underlie delayed clinical responses often observed in cancer patients treated with monoclonal antibodies of various specificities.

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