Effects of blood transfusion on the immune responsiveness and survival of cancer patients: A prospective study

L. Quintiliani, A. Buzzonetti, M. DiGirolamo, P. Iudicone, M. Guglielmetti, F. Martini, R. Scocchera, F. Terlizzi, P. Lapponi, E. Giuliani

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Abstract

To evaluate whether blood transfusion exerts an adverse influence on cancer evolution, a prospective clinical and immunologic investigation was carried out on 58 surgical patients with gastric or colorectal adenocarcinoma. None had had previous transfusion; 35 received perioperative transfusion. Among preoperative variables, only red cell count and hemoglobin concentration were significantly reduced in the patients transfused at operation. Other clinical characteristics and immunologic functions (except interferon-gamma release) did not differ significantly from those of untransfused patients. The survival rate of transfused patients, although shorter, was not significantly different from that of untransfused patients. Immunologic tests done after surgery on 30 patients (17 transfused and 13 untransfused) did not show significant differences in the two groups. Significant increases in interleukin-2-stimulated production and immunoglobulin M synthesis were observed in transfused patients after surgery. Patients transfused perioperatively with more than 3 units of blood had some evidence of decreased immune function, but differences were not significant. While shorter survival and some immunologic changes may correlate with the number of transfusions, more patients must be studied to determine whether this relationship will be confirmed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-718
Number of pages6
JournalTransfusion
Volume31
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Hematology

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