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Immunologic Consequences of Chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Reilly, Anne MD; Kersun, Leslie S. MD; Luning Prak, Eline MD, PhD; Boyer, Jean PhD; McDonald, Kenyetta BS; Jawad, Abbas F. PhD; Sullivan, Kathleen E. MD, PhD

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology:
doi: 10.1097/MPH.0b013e318266c0c8
Original Articles

There are few data characterizing the immunologic consequences of chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and almost nothing is known about the effects of chemotherapy in a pediatric AML cohort. We identified T-cell subsets, B-cell subsets, and used Enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot analyses to define the function of T cells and B cells in 7 pediatric patients with AML on chemotherapy. The data show that the effects of chemotherapy disproportionately target the B cell and depletion of B cells is associated with impaired responses to the inactivated influenza vaccine. Diminished T-cell numbers were also observed although the magnitude of the effect was less than what was seen for B cells. Furthermore, measures of T-cell function were largely intact. We conclude that humoral immunity is significantly affected by chemotherapy for AML.

Author Information

Divisions of *Oncology

§Allergy Immunology

Biostatistics and Epidemiology, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Supported by a grant N01-AI-50024 from NIH.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Kathleen E. Sullivan, MD, PhD, Division of Allergy Immunology, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 3615 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104 (e-mail:

Received September 22, 2011

Accepted June 26, 2012

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.