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March 1970

Symptomatic Hemolytic Anemia in CarcinomaCure With Splenectomy

Author Affiliations

San Francisco
From the departments of medicine (Drs. Barrett and Panettierre) and surgery (Dr. Cohen), Letterman General Hospital, San Francisco.

Arch Surg. 1970;100(3):310-312. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340210086022

Although anemia occurs commonly in patients with malignant disease, overt hemolysis is an uncommon cause of it except in conditions involving the reticuloendothelial system.1 This report describes the occurrence of severe hemolytic anemia, in a patient with metastatic carcinoma of the breast, which was cured by splenectomy. This is believed to be the first report in which splenectomy has been used to successfully treat the hemolytic anemia of malignancy.

Report of a Case  A 42-year-old white woman was transferred to Letterman General Hospital because of a ten-pound weight loss and back and leg pain which had developed three months earlier. She had been examined at another hospital and was found to be severely anemic. There she was given a blood transfusion with 2,000 cc of whole blood and immediately sent to the authors for examination. Two and one-half years previously, the patient had been examined by a physician for

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