Delayed skin hypersensitivity responses were elicited in patients with cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis (CFA) (twenty-eight), asbestosis (eight), mesothelioma (eight) and a ‘control’ group, having miscellaneous lung diseases not normally believed to be associated with T cell deficiency (twenty). Three antigens, Candida albicans, trichophyton and purified protein derivative (PPD) in a range of doses were used.
There was no evidence of impaired cellular immunity in CFA or in mesothelioma, indeed there was a significantly increased frequency of reactions to PPD in both of these conditions (P<0.05 and P<0.01 respectively). There was, however, a trend of decreased responsiveness in the group with asbestosis.
The dosage regimen used rarely gave completely negative results (only one of thirty-two completed tests), and may provide a basis for a simple and standard regimen for screening patients suspected of having defective T cell responses.