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High-risk breast cancer patients: comparison of lymphocyte phenotypes and function in vitro

The design of a phase III trial in high-risk breast cancer patients is characterized by a dose-dense sequential control (arm B), and a high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) arm with short induction phase and tandem HDC (arm A). It is known that following such a treatment there are profound changes in lymphocyte phenotypes and lymphocyte function. Here we show data on the changes in vitro during the different treatment cycles, beginning with the tests 1995.

The lymphocyte membranes were tested using commercially available antibodies (Ortho) and the CytoronAbsolute cytofluorograf. The lymphocyte functions were investigated in a H-3-thymidin incorporation test after stimulation with various stimuli (IL-2, IFN-γ, CD3, ConA, Pokeweed, PHA and Candida antigen). In some of the patients, in the supernatant of the lymphocyte proliferation test several cytokines were determined (IL-2, IL-5, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IL-16, IFN-γ, GM-CSF and TNF-α). From 80 examined patients, 16 died and eight recurred. In arm A there were 57 patients (11 died and six got a recurrence). Arm B contained 23 patients (five died and two recurred). CD3+ cells were relatively equal in arm A and B patients, whereas there was an enormous difference in the CD4+and CD8+ cells after end of therapy. In the HDC patients CD4+ cells declined during the follow up and CD8+ cells increased. In arm B there was a normal decline during the therapy and a recovery after 24 months. In a few patients of arm A we observed an elevation in B-cells (CD19), shortly after the end of therapy. The functions of the cells will be presented in tables. All patients had sustained changes of their lymphocyte situation at least for 24 months.

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Mohrmann, S., Oletzki, A., Karaoglu, A. et al. High-risk breast cancer patients: comparison of lymphocyte phenotypes and function in vitro . Breast Cancer Res 3 (Suppl 1), A42 (2001).

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