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Ann Intern Med. 1977 Nov;87(5):552-7.

Influenza immunization of adult patients with malignant diseases.


To characterize the immunogenicity of influenza vaccine in patients with malignant disease, 21 patients with lymphoreticular neoplasms and 21 patients with solid tumors were immunized with inactivated influenza A/New Jersey/76 whole virus vaccine. The patients were randomized with respect to time of vaccine administration in relation to administration of chemotherapy. Fourfold or greater antibody titer increases occurred in 94% of controls and 71% of cancer patients (P less than 0.05), and the magnitude of antibody response was also significantly lower in cancer patients (P less than 0.01). There was no correlation of antibody responsiveness with sex, age, tumor type, absolute lymphocyte count, disease status, or type of chemotherapeutic agent used. Fifty percent of patients immunized at the time of chemotherapy administration showed seroconversion, which is significantly less than the 93% response rate observed in patients immunized between chemotherapy courses. It is thus recommended that individuals with malignant disease should receive influenza immunization between chemotherapy courses.

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