Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1999; 23(5):417-421.

Correspondence to the Editor: A Case Report - Granulocyte Apheresis as a Possible New Approach in Cancer Therapy: A Pilot Study Involving Two Cases

Takafumi Tabuchi, M.D.,a Hideyuki Ubukata, M.D.,a Abby R. Saniabadi, Ph.D.,b and Tetsuo Soma, M.D.a

a Department of Surgery, Kasumigaura Hospital, Tokyo Medical College, Ibaragi, Japan; and b Japan lmmunoresearch Laboratories, Takasaki, Japan

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Takafumi Tabuchi, M.D., Department of Surgery, Kasumigaura Hospital, Tokyo Medical College, 3-20-I Chuo, Ami-machi Inasiki-gun, Ibaragi 300-03, Japan.

ABSTRACT: Patients with advanced cancer often develop immunodeficiency, which may be associated with granulocytosis. The granulocytes have the potential to deplete cytotoxic T cells and this can result in accelerated tumour growth and metastasis. To eliminate the excess granulocytes using granulocyte apheresis in patients with elevated granulocyte to lymphocyte ratios, 2 patients with recurrent metastatic tumours, were selected. Granulocyte apheresis was performed by extracorporeal vein-to-vein circulation with the G-1 granulocyte and monocyte/macrophage apheresis column filled with cellulose acetate beads, each 2 mm in diameter to absorb granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages. The patients received 1 or 2 apheresis of 30 to 50 mm duration per week, at a flow rate of 30-50 ml/mm, with 15 sessions constituting one therapeutic course. Apheresis markedly reduced tumour size and prolonged patient survival time, without causing any serious adverse event. The results of the present study suggest that granulocyte and monocyte/macrophage apheresis may be beneficial in patients with metastasising tumours.

KEY WORDS: cancer therapy, G- I column, granulocyte apheresis, granulocyte/lymphocyte ratio, granulocytosis.