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Cancer Detect Prev. 1999;23(5):417-21.

Granulocyte apheresis as a possible new approach in cancer therapy: A pilot study involving two cases.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Kasumigaura Hospital, Tokyo Medical College, Ibaragi, Japan.


Patients with advanced cancer often develop immunodeficiency which may be associated with granulocytosis. The granulocytes have the potential to deplete cytotoxic T cells, resulting in accelerated tumor growth and metastasis. To study the elimination of excess granulocytes using granulocyte apheresis in patients with elevated granulocyte to lymphocyte ratios, 2 patients with recurrent metastatic tumors, were selected. Granulocyte apheresis was performed by extracorporeal vein-to-vein circulation with the G-1 granulocyte and monocyte/macrophage apheresis column filled with cellulose acetate beads, each 2 mm in diameter to adsorb granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages. The patients received 1 or 2 apheresis of 30 to 50 min duration per week, at a flow rate of 30-50 ml/min, with 15 sessions constituting one therapeutic course. Apheresis markedly reduced tumor size and prolonged patient survival time without causing any serious adverse events. The results of the present study suggest that granulocyte and monocyte/macrophage apheresis may be beneficial in patients with metastasizing tumors.

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