Accelerated plasmacytoma formation in mice treated with alpha-fetoprotein

M. Eric Gershwin, J. J. Castles, R. Makishima

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15 Scopus citations


The ability of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), derived from mouse amniotic fluid, to alter qualitative and quantitative characteristics of pristane-induced plasmacytomas and the carcinogenic action of 3-methylcholanthrene (MCA) and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) was studied and compared to analogous treatment with murine albumin and transferrin in BALB/c mice. Pharmacologic doses of 200 μg AFP ip three times per week had no effect on either latency period or tumor incidence in mice given injections of MCA and DMBA when compared to albumin treated and transferrin-treated controls. Moreover, this lack of influence of AFP was found at high and low dosages of the carcinogens. In contrast AFP, but neither albumin nor transferrin, accelerated the appearance of plasmacytomas in pristane-primed BALB/c mice. Moreover, the immunoglobulin class of plasmacytomas of mice given AFP injections was qualitatively altered, and an increase in IgM and IgG2b plasmacytomas was noted. These effects occurred at serum AFP levels of 90-260 μg/ml. Although these results should not be used to support a normal physiologic role of AFP in immune regulation, they are similar to previous observations of suppression mediated by the alpha-globulin fraction of normal serum and suggest that pharmacologic dosages of AFP may be useful in the study of select, possibly thymus-dependent, immune responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-149
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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