CD4+ T-cell immune response to large B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma predicts patient outcome

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122 Scopus citations


Purpose: Previous studies in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and other malignancies have suggested that the presence of host infiltrates in the tumors of these patients may predict a better out-come. This study was undertaken to determine the prognostic importrance of the presence of T cells in the biopsy specimens of patients with B-cell NHL. Patients and Methods: Seventy-two patients with diffuse large B-cell NHL were prospectively evaluated at a single institution between 1987 and 1994. The percentage of CD3+, CD3+/HLA-DR+, CD4+, CD8+, and natural killer cells was determined by flow cytometry in the pretreatment diagnostic biopsy specimen and correlated with patient outcome. Results: An increase in the percentage CD4+ T cells in the pretreatment tumor biopsies significantly correlated with patient outcome. The percent of CD4+ T cells was also highly correlated with CD3+/HLA-DR+, CD45RO+, and low L-selectin (CD62L) expression, indicating that the CD4+ T, cells are activated memory T-helper cells. Those patients with increased numbers of CD4+ T cells, compared with other patients, had a significantly longer 5-year failure-free survival (72% v 43%, respectively; P = .04), as well as a significantly longer 5-year overall survival (65% v 38%, respectively; P = .05). When evaluated in a multivariate model, the International Prognostic Index and more than 20% infiltrating CD4+ T cells in the pretreatment biopsy were significant independent predictors of relapse-free and overall survival. Conclusion: The presence of increased numbers of activated CD4+ cells in the area of B-cell diffuse large-cell NHL predicts a better prognosis. This finding provides a strong rationale for the investigation of cellular immunotherapy in B-cell NHL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-726
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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