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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 1984 Mar;14(1):21-30.

Controlled study of therapeutic granulocyte transfusions in granulocytopenic patients with severe infections.


The effectiveness of therapeutic granulocyte transfusions was studied in a controlled trial involving 75 granulocytopenic patients with severe infections. Patients who had granulocyte counts of less than 200/mm3 and no response to antibiotic therapy were assigned to receive antibiotic therapy alone or granulocyte transfusions plus antibiotic therapy. Granulocytes were collected by filtration leukapheresis (FL), intermittent flow centrifuge leukapheresis (IFCL) or continuous flow centrifuge leukapheresis (CFCL). Therapeutic effects of granulocyte transfusions were evaluated on the basis of 20-day survival after entry into the study. The patients were divided into three groups: 1) 22 patients received antibiotic therapy alone for 29 infectious episodes (control group); 2) 27 patients received 131 transfusions of granulocytes collected by FL for 31 infectious episodes (FL group); 3) 26 patients received 139 transfusions of granulocytes collected by IFCL and CFCL for 27 infectious episodes (IFCL & CFCL group). The overall survival of the transfused patients was not significantly different from that of the untransfused patients. Similarly, there was no significant difference in survival between the transfused and untransfused patients when the data concerning septicemia were analyzed. When patients showed bone-marrow recovery, which was indicated by recovery of granulocytes to 500/mm3 or more during the study, 20-day survival was observed in 13 of 14 untransfused patients and in all of 26 transfused patients. In contrast, the survival rate for the patients without bone-marrow recovery was 13% (2/15) in the control group, 39% (7/18) in the FL group and 57% (8/14) in the IFCL & CFCL group respectively. Thus, the survival rate was significantly higher for the transfused than for the untransfused patients. These observations suggest that therapeutic granulocyte transfusions may be of limited value in improving the outcome of severe infections in persistently granulocytopenic patients. Since bone-marrow recovery is a critical factor for the prognosis of severe infections, therapeutic granulocyte transfusions do not provide any beneficial effects in granulocytopenic patients whose bone-marrow function will recover.

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