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Ann Surg. 1976 Jul;184(1):60-4.

Effect of intravenous hyperalimentation on established delayed hypersensitivity in the cancer patient.


Forty-seven cancer patients were selected for study based on their candidacy for hyperalimentation. Each patient received selected skin test antigens intradermally in the forearm prior to the initiation of hyperalimentation, and at 7-day intervals throughout treatment with either chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. Of 23 patients who received chemotherapy, 17 initially had negative skin tests. Thirteen of these patients had positive skin tests after an average of 11.4 +/- 5.5 days of hyperalimentation. Response to chemotherapy occurred only in hyperalimentation. Response to chemotherapy occurred only in those patients whose skin tests were positive, and conversion of skin test reactivity to positive occurred before clinical regression of metastatic disease. No patient who received radiation therapy developed or retained positive skin test reactivity, although nutritional repletion was considered satisfactory in each patient. Surgical patients whose skin tests converted to positive or remained positive preoperatively had an uncomplicated postoperative recovery, whereas 2 of 4 patients whose skin tests remained negative expired postoperatively. Absence of established delayed hypersensitivity in the cancer patient who is treated with chemotherapy or surgery is probably secondary to generalized malnutrition, and established cell-mediated immunity can be restored by proper nutritional repletion.

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