As observed for many types of cancers, heritable variants of ultraviolet light-induced tumors often grow more aggressively than the parental tumors. The aggressive growth of some variants is due to the loss of a T cell-recognized tumor-specific antigen; however, other variants retain such antigens. We have analyzed an antigen retention variant and found that the variant tumor cells grow at the same rate as the parental tumor cells in vitro, but grew more rapidly than the parental cells in the T cell-deficient host. The growth of the variant cells was stimulated in vitro by factors released from tumor-induced leukocytes and by several defined growth factors. In addition, the variant cancer cells actually attracted more leukocytes in vitro than the parental cells. Furthermore, elimination of granulocytes in vivo in nude mice by a specific antigranulocyte antibody inhibited the growth of the variant cancer, indicating that this tumor requires granulocytes for rapid growth.

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