Prognostic value of concanavalin a reactivity of primary human breast cancer cells

Philip Furmanski, Willis L. Kirkland, Trudy Gargala, Marvin A. Rich

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27 Scopus citations


A prospective, double-blind study was carried out to determine whether reactivity with concanavalin A (Con A) of human breast cancer cells was related to early disease recurrence. Mammary epithelial cells were isolated from 138 primary human breast cancers. The cells were placed in culture, and their reactivity with Con A was determined with a hemadsorption assay in which human erythrocytes treated with various concentrations of Con A were incubated with the test (mammary epithelial) cells in situ. The Con A half-maximum value was determined as the concentration of Con A at which approximately 50% of the test cells adsorbed erythrocytes. Con A reactivity of the tumors was classified as high or low (half-maximum value ≤30 or 30 μg/ml, respectively). Patients were followed for 2 to 60 months after primary surgery (median, 22 months). Those patients having tumors that were highly reactive with Con A were at significantly greater risk of developing early recurrence of their cancers than were those patients with low-reactivity tumors. No correlation was found between Con A reactivity and the age of the patients, their menopausal status, the number of axillary lymph nodes infiltrated with tumor, the estrogen receptor content of the tumor, or the clinical stage of the disease. These data show that Con A reactivity is an independent discriminator for identifying those breast cancer patients who are at high risk of developing early recurrent disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4087-4092
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1981
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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