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Research Article

Changes in immune status in patients undergoing splenectomy for the staging of Hodgkin's disease.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 07 February 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:313
  1. B W Hancock,
  2. L Bruce,
  3. A M Ward,
  4. J Richmond


    The immune status of 17 patients with Hodgkin's disease was studied before and after splenectomy (undertaken in staging laparotomy) and during chemotherapy or after radiotherapy. The findings were compared with those in 19 patients not selected for splenectomy. Serum IgA and IgM levels became significantly lower after treatment in the splenectomy group. Cell-mediated immunity was depressed mainly in patients receiving quadruple cytotoxic chemotherapy. Neutrophil function was normal or enhanced and was unchanged after splenectomy and treatment despite changes in neutrophil counts. Three patients who underwent splenectomy suffered fatal septicaemia. These results suggest that humoral immunity is depressed by treatment in patients who have undergon splenectomy, and the benefits of early accurate staging must be weighed against the likelihood of infective complications.