The effect of histamine, antihistamines, and a mast cell stabilizer on the growth of cloudman melanoma cells in DBA/2 mice

J Invest Dermatol. 1983 Jul;81(1):28-31. doi: 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12538356.


The growth rate of Cloudman S91 melanoma cells was compared in groups of normal and immunologically compromised DBA/2 mice that had undergone thymectomy and treatment with antilymphocyte serum. Tumor growth was markedly accelerated in the immunosuppressed animals. Other groups of normal and immunosuppressed animals were treated with daily injections of either histamine, the H-2 antihistamine cimetidine, the H-1 antihistamine pyrilamine; or the mast cell stabilizer proxicromil. Histamine treatment accelerated tumor growth, but only in normal animals and had little effect on tumor growth in immunocompromised hosts. Cimetidine treatment tended to increase tumor growth in normal hosts but this was statistically significant in only 1 of 3 experiments. In contrast, treatment with cimetidine, pyrilamine, or proxicromil always resulted in significant retardation of tumor growth in immunosuppressed animals. These data are consistent with the notion that thymectomy and treatment with antilymphocyte serum results in enhanced tumor growth that is in part due to activation of histamine-dependent suppressor cells. In this system, histamine activation of suppressor cells may be reversed by treatment with either antihistamines or proxicromil, a drug that prevents mast cell release of histamine. However, since the effects of these drugs seem to depend on the immune status of the host, thorough evaluation of immunoregulatory function and careful testing to determine whether histamine blockers reduce or promote tumor growth would seem indicated when immunomodulatory treatment with these drugs is contemplated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromones / pharmacology
  • Cimetidine / pharmacology
  • Histamine / pharmacology*
  • Histamine Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Immunosuppression
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / drug effects*
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Methysergide / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Pyrilamine / pharmacology


  • Chromones
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Cimetidine
  • Histamine
  • proxicromil
  • Pyrilamine
  • Methysergide