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July 1980

Radiotherapy and Head and Neck Cancer: Role of Lymphocyte Response and Clinical Stage

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Radiology (Drs Jenkins, Ray, Perry, and Olson) and Otolaryngology (Dr Griffiths), University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1980;106(7):414-418. doi:10.1001/archotol.1980.00790310038009

• The mean number of lymphocytes, response to phytohemagglutinin (PHA), and response to concanavalin A (Con A) in whole-blood cultures for 106 patients with head and neck cancer were 83%, 73%, and 64%, respectively, of values for healthy control individuals. During radiotherapy, lymphocyte counts declined to 44% and PHA and Con A responses declined to about one third of control values. Lymphocyte counts slowly increased after treatment to 77% of control values after two years, but responses to mitogens remained at about 40%. Responses to PHA and Con A for 38 patients who lived beyond 18 months were significantly greater before and after treatment than responses for 39 patients who died within 18 months. In general, a poor pretreatment response to PHA and Con A correlated with a poor clinical course, whereas responses near the control level indicated a good clinical course.

(Arch Otolaryngol 106:414-418, 1980)