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Skin test reactivity in patients suffering from lung and breast cancer.

Author(s): Bousquet J, Pujol JL, Barneon G, Hejjaoui A, Nardoux J, Ausseil M, Godard P, Joyeux H, Michel FB

Affiliation(s): Clinique des Maladies Respiratoires, Hospital l'Aiguelongue, Montpellier, France.

Publication date & source: 1991-06, J Allergy Clin Immunol., 87(6):1066-72.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Mast cells and histamine-mediated reactions may be altered in patients with cancer. In an attempt to characterize the possible skin defects in patients with cancer, we tested 22 patients suffering from lung cancers, 30 from breast cancers, and 30 age-matched normal individuals, using several compounds, in investigating the pathophysiology of the skin response. Histamine hydrochloride (10 and 100 mg/ml) and codeine phosphate (9%) were tested by prick test. Substance P (50 and 500 ng per injection site), phentolamine (20 micrograms per injection site), and carbachol (1 microgram per injection site) were tested by intradermal skin tests. Skin mast cells were also microscopically examined in 10 patients with lung cancer, five with breast cancer, and 10 normal subjects. The mean wheal sizes induced by all the tested substances were similar in patients with cancer and chronic bronchitis and in normal individuals. The flare to histamine, codeine phosphate, and substance P was completely abolished in 7/22 patients with lung cancer, but the lack of flare was not related to the age of the patients, nor to the staging of cancer, nor to metastasis. The mean numbers of alcian blue-stained or toluidine blue-stained positive mast cells were similar in normal subjects and in subjects with cancer. This study does not confirm the skin hyporeactivity of patients with cancer.

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