The purpose of this study was to determine whether the UV-associated antigens present on tumors induced in mice by chronic UV irradiation could be induced by in vitro irradiation of cells that were already tumorigenic, or whether their occurrence was associated with the primary neoplastic transformation event. Cells of a nonantigenic, spontaneous fibrosarcoma cell line were exposed to UV radiation in vitro, were cloned, and were tested for antigenic properties. A large number of the clones obtained after UV irradiation of the fibrosarcoma cells were highly antigenic (20 of 39), whereas clones derived from unirradiated cultures were not (0 of 10). The antigenic variants did not induce cross-protection among themselves, but induced only variant-specific immunity in vivo. Several antigenic variants were tested for susceptibility to the action of UV-induced suppressor cells, which seem to recognize a common determinant shared among UV-induced tumors. The variants tested were indeed subject to the activity of the UV-induced suppressor lymphocytes. These results demonstrate that the unique antigenic properties exhibited by UV-induced murine skin cancers are also exhibited by cells exposed to UV radiation in vitro. In addition, they imply that the UV-associated antigens arise as a consequence of exposing cells to UV radiation and that they can occur independently of an initial neoplastic transformation event.

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