Cytotoxic responses of UV-irradiated mice against syngeneic UV-induced tumors were measured by using a 51Cr-release assay to determine if UV treatment induced a specific reduction of cytotoxic activity. The in vivo and in vitro primary responses against syngeneic tumors and allogeneic cells were unaffected, as was the “memory” response (in vivo stimulation, in vitro restimulation) against alloantigens. In contrast, the memory response of UV-treated mice against syngeneic, UV-induced tumors was consistently and significantly depressed. The cytotoxicity generated by tumor cells stimulation in vivo or in vitro was tumor-specific and T cell-dependent. Since the primary response against syngeneic UV-induced tumors produces apparently normal amounts of tumor-specific cytotoxic activity, UV-treated mice may not reject transplanted syngeneic tumors because of too few T effector memory cells. These results imply that, at least in this system, tumor rejection depends mostly on the secondary responses against tumor antigens and that at least one carcinogen can, indirectly, specifically regulate immune responses.

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