This study represents an initial attempt to analyze the humoral immune reactions of patients with malignant melanoma by hybridoma methodology. Using lymphocytes from regional lymph nodes, peripheral blood and tumor infiltrates, 158 fusions were performed with SKO-007 (human myeloma line), LICR-LON-HMy2 (LICR-2), GM 4672 (human lymphoblastoid lines), or NS-1 (mouse myeloma line). Fusion of lymph node lymphocytes with NS-1 resulted in a 3-4 times higher frequency of clones than fusion with LICR-2, and a 10 times higher frequency than fusion with SKO-007 or GM 4672. In the case of peripheral blood lymphocytes, fusion with NS-1 gave greater than 25 times higher frequency of clones than fusion with LICR-2 or SKO-007. Production of human mu, gamma, or alpha heavy chains was detected in 50-80% of wells containing growing clones, and the levels of immunoglobulin ranged from 0.3 micrograms to 40 micrograms/ml. NS-1-derived clones could be easily subcultured, while LICR-2 and SKO-007 clones grew more slowly on subculturing. In this study, Ig secretion appeared to be a more stable property of LICR-2-derived clones than NS-1-derived clones. A panel of 20 human cancer cell lines was used to screen 771 Ig-secreting cultures for antibody to cell surface or intracellular antigens. Reactivity with cell surface antigens was found infrequently (6 cultures), whereas reactivity with intracellular antigens was more common (27 cultures). A new cell surface antigen with properties of a glycolipid was defined with an IgM monoclonal antibody secreted by a tetraploid cell derived from a fusion of LICR-2 with lymphocytes from the axillary lymph node of a patient with melanoma. The hybrid cell line has been subcloned four times and secretes 5 micrograms IgM/ml. The antigen detected by this IgM antibody was found on 5 of 23 melanoma cell lines and 12 of 30 epithelial cancer cell lines. No reactions were found with 11 cultures derived from normal cells. Stable cell lines secreting human antibody that detected nuclei, nucleoli, cytoskeletal elements, Golgi complex, or other cytoplasmic components were also isolated in this study. One of these antibodies detected an intracellular antigen that is restricted to cells of neuroectodermal derivation, and a second antibody reacted primarily with cells of epithelial origin. Using these methods to isolate and analyze human monoclonal antibody, it should now be possible to define the repertoire of the humoral immune response to melanoma.

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