Immune Deficiency and Malignancy

  • John H. Kersey


Accumulating evidence suggests than an understanding of the immune system will assist in the analysis of malignant adaptation. A large body of evidence indicates that patients with malignancies of various types also have immunologic deficiency which may involve both the cell-mediated and humoral systems. The types of malignancy with demonstrable immune deficiency include I) epithelial malignancies, e.g., those involving breast, stomach, colon, and other sites; 2) nervous system tumors of varying types; and 3) a variety of mesenchymal tumors including sarcomas. In many instances the degree of immune deficiency correlates with the extent of the malignancy, suggesting that much of the immune deficiency in cancer patients is secondary to the cancer (1). The causes of this secondary immune deficiency in cancer patients are undoubtedly several and probably include nutritional factors and production of immunosuppressive proteins (e.g., alpha fetoprotein) by the tumor (2,3). Because of this secondary immune deficiency, it is currently not possible in most cancer patients to determine what role, if any, immune deficiency plays in causing the tumor. However, the purpose of this presentation is not to discuss secondary immune deficiencies, but rather to concentrate on primary immunodeficiencies in order to determine the possible role of immune deficiency in the development of malignancies in humans.


Immune Deficiency Primary Immunodeficiency Lymphoid Malignancy Severe Combine Immunodeficiency Common Variable Immunodeficiency 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Kersey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. Lab. Med. & Pathol.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Dept. PediatricsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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