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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2001 Oct;28(7):681-7.

Humoral immunity to viral and bacterial antigens in lymphoma patients 4-10 years after high-dose therapy with ABMT. Serological responses to revaccinations according to EBMT guidelines.

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Dept of Oncology, University Hospital of Tromsø, 9038 Tromsø, Norway.


The aim of this study was to investigate the late effects of ABMT on the immune system with regard to protective humoral immunity against common antigens and responses to recall antigens (vaccines). The vaccines were given according to EBMT guidelines from 1995. The protocol included 35 patients with malignant lymphoma in CR 4-10 years after ABMT, and 35 controls. The results show that prior to ABMT the proportion of patients with protective immunity against poliomyelitis, tetanus and diphtheria was similar to that of controls. At study entry 4-10 years after ABMT, the proportion of patients with protective immunity against poliomyelitis and diphtheria was reduced, while all patients maintained protection against tetanus. A significant decrease in geometric mean antibody concentrations or titres was observed against all three antigens during this period. Serum levels of antibodies against different pneumococcal serotypes were lower in the patients than in the controls prior to vaccination. The responses to pneumococcal vaccination, which is considered to be a T cell-independent vaccine, were studied. Unlike controls, a minority of patients achieved protective levels of antibodies after a single vaccination. Despite persistent levels of protective antibodies in many patients post ABMT, secondary booster responses after one vaccination with T cell-dependent vaccines (tetanus, diphtheria and polio) were absent. In conclusion, this study shows that post ABMT, a full re-vaccination program was necessary to mount responses comparable to those observed after a single vaccination in controls.

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