Protein A and staphylococcal products in neoplastic disease

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 1985;4(2):103-24. doi: 10.1016/s1040-8428(85)80012-3.


Tumoricidal responses and tumor regressions have been observed after plasma perfusion over Staphylococcus aureus Cowan I (SAC), or purified protein A immobilized on solid supports. This system was initially studied in a single human patient and then extended to dogs with spontaneous mammary carcinoma, an excellent model of human breast cancer. In the single patient and dogs with mammary tumors, perfusion of plasma over protein A bearing staphylococcus resulted in tumor necrosis and tumor regression. Tumor reduction or growth retardation with similar perfusion systems has been noted in various feline and rodent tumor models. Tumoricidal responses were also observed in canine tumors after perfusion over commercial protein A which was immobilized in a collodion charcoal matrix (PACC). These responses were amplified when a subtherapeutic and nontoxic dose of cytarabine was given after perfusion. Similar tumor reduction in murine and feline tumor models has been noted after perfusion of autologous serum over protein A immobilized on various other solid supports. The PACC perfusion system was extended to five consecutive patients with advanced breast adenocarcinoma. Four of five patients showed tumor regression after perfusion of small volumes of autologous or homologous plasma over PACC. Patients also experienced pyrexia, nausea, vomiting, and significant cardiopulmonary toxicity. Detailed hemodynamic studies of these effects showed that the major pathophysiology involved a decline in total peripheral resistance associated with an increase in cardiac output. With reduction of immobilized protein A quantity and diminution in plasma perfusion rate, the cardiopulmonary toxicity associated with treatments was diminished. Chemotherapy given as FAC to a single patient shortly after concluding perfusion therapy resulted in rapid regression of residual large tumor masses. Studies focusing on the mechanism of the tumoricidal responses have examined changes in sera after incubation or perfusion over immobilized SAC or PACC. Major findings include (1) the identification of protein A leaching from PACC and SAC after serum perfusion and appearing in the effluent as Clq binding oligomers composed predominantly of IgG and protein A but also containing IgA, IgM and C3 with a molecular weight range of 600,000 to 2,000,000; (2) the identification of C3a anaphylatoxins in serum perfused over PACC or SAC; (3) the recognition that several enterotoxins, in particular enterotoxin B are present in commercial protein A preparation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Charcoal
  • Collodion
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Perfusion
  • Staphylococcal Protein A / therapeutic use*
  • Staphylococcal Protein A / toxicity
  • Staphylococcus / immunology*


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Staphylococcal Protein A
  • Charcoal
  • Collodion