Experiments were designed to explore the apparent paradox that methylcholanthrene-induced tumors of mice evoke tumor-unique transplantation immunity but reveal almost complete cross-reacting antigenicity in tests of lymphocyte behavior in vitro. The approach involved use of tumor membranes solubilized in 3 M KCl, employed both as the stimulating antigen source in a new in vitro proliferation assay of lymphocyte recognition, and as immunogens in vivo. The kinetics of the assay resembled those of in vitro tests of mitogen or specific antigen stimulation in other systems. Lymphoid cell proliferation was assessed in peripheral blood leukocytes, lymph nodes (LN), and spleen over the course of tumor bearing, and in animals immunized by tumor amputation or with the solubilized antigens. The pattern of spread of reactivity was from regional LN to spleen, peripheral blood, and nonregional nodes in each circumstance. An unexplained low antigen dose inhibitory phenomenon was encountered in spontaneously proliferating cell subpopulations taken from some tumor-bearing animals. In vitro responses to some but not all solubilized antigens made from multiple syngeneic tumors were detected in each circumstance. The soluble antigens also induced shared resistance to some tumors. The patterns of spread of responsiveness to syngeneic tumor antigens, the time-course, and relative intensity were most compatible with independent clonal responses to multiple tumor-borne antigens, some but not all of which are shared in any family of syngeneic tumors.

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