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Environ Health Perspect. 1982 Feb;43:21-5.

Chemotherapy-induced immunosuppression.

Abstract

Chemotherapeutic agents are used widely in clinical medicine for the treatment of conditions where diminution of the host immune response is a goal. The clinical use of immunosuppression is indicated for immunologically mediated disease, lymphoproliferative diseases, and prevention of graft rejection. Five categories of agents are useful for these purposes; they are ionizing irradiation, corticosteroids, biological alkylating agents, antilymphocyte sera and antimetabolites. While the specific molecular action of many of these drugs is known, how they affect cellular events in immune responses is less clear. One of the unfortunate sequelae of chemotherapy induced immunosuppression is an increased susceptibility of the host to opportunistic pathogens or malignancies. Specific methods are described for monitoring the various parameters of both humoral and cellular immunity. Studies of immunologic function in lymphoma patients and cardiac transplant patients treated with immunosuppressive drugs have shown specific defects in cell mediated immunity to herpes viruses which may relate to their increased susceptibility to infection by these agents.

PMID:
7037385
PMCID:
PMC1568884
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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