The effects of splenic irradiation on lymphocyte subpopulations in chronic B-lymphocytic leukemia

Leonardus Wendelinus Mathias Marie Terstappen, B.G. de Grooth, W. van Berkel, C.H.H. ten Napel, M. van Reijn, Jan Greve

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We describe the effect of splenic irradiation (SI) (0,5–1 Gy weekly) on lymphocyte subpopulations for 7 patients with progressive B chronic B-lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL). Using specific cellular characteristics we could distinguish normal from abnormal cells. The irradiation resulted in a decrease of lymph node size, reduction in spleen volume and decrease in peripheral blood lymphocytes. The one exception was a patient with a prolymphocytoid transformation of B-CLL. For 3 patients SI had to be interrupted or stopped because of severe cytopenia. Quantitation of malignant B cells and normal T lymphocytes revealed that the total irradiation dose which resulted in a specific decrease of malignant lymphocytes varied from patient to patient. Normal T-cell subpopulations, which were increased before SI, decreased to normal or abnormally low values during SI. In previously untreated patients, natural killer (NK) cell numbers decreased more rapidly than T-cell subpopulations. For 2 patients refractory to chemotherapy an increase of NK cells was observed upon SI.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)496-505
JournalEuropean Journal of Haematology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1988


  • B-CLL
  • Splenic irradiation
  • IR-70836
  • lymphocytic disorders
  • lymphocyte subpopulations

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