Levels of IgG, IgA, IgM, the total haemolytic complement (CH50), and the individual components C1q, C3, C4, C6, and C7 were measured in 29 pleural effusions. Of these, 18 were associated with carcinoma of the bronchus and 11 were non-malignant effusions including empyemas. The level of IgG was significantly lower in the malignant group when compared with non-malignant effusions. The usefulness of measurements of IgG with respect to malignant effusions associated with carcinoma of the bronchus requires an expanded study to show whether it has any real diagnostic value. There were no significant differences in other immunoglobulins, the CH50, and individual complement components between the two groups. The identification of total haemolytic activity in the majority of effusions in both groups indicates that all nine components of the classical pathway of complement, including macromolecules such as C1, can be present in pleural fluids.
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