We analyzed various subsets of lymphocytes infiltrated into cancer tissues from 15 patients (10 cases of oropharyngeal cancer and 5 of hypopharyngeal cancer) before treatment and after irradiation with approximately 10 Gy (1,000 rad) and 30 Gy by the method of biotin-avidin-horseradish peroxidase using mouse monoclonal antibodies. The infiltration was graded + + + (marked) to – (none). In 3 cases, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes were remarkably increased at the delivery of a small dose of irradiation (approx. 10 Gy): 2 of them showed remarkable radiosensitivity, and the lymphocyte subpopulation of the cancer tissue was mainly composed of Leu-3a + 3b-positive and Leu-8-negative lymphocytes (helper inducer T lymphocytes or delayed-type hypersensitivity cells). On the other hand, the third one proved to be rather radioresistant, and the lymphocyte subpopulation was mainly composed of Leu-14-positive lymphocytes (B lymphocytes). These findings indicate that the analysis of the lymphocyte subpopulation infiltrating into cancer tissues at the delivery of small doses of irradiation is applicable as a predictive assay in radiotherapy of squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx and hypopharynx.

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