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Imbalances of T-cell subsets in monoclonal gammopathies


In 42 patients with untreated or treated multiple myeloma (MM) or benign monoclonal gammopathy (BMG) the lymphocytes and T lymphocyte subsets were determined by monoclonal antibodies and other surface markers.

In untreated MM, the T cells (1077/μl vs 1439/μl, P<0.01) and especially the OKT4+ lymphocytes (700/μl vs 950/μl, P<0.05) were significantly reduced compared with a control group. The OKT8+ cells were slightly but not significantly decreased.

In previously treated MM, the loss of T cells was more pronounced than in the untreated group and was primarily caused by a further reduction of OKT4+ cells. Patients with BMG revealed decreased OKT8+ lymphocytes (304/μl vs 502/μl, P<0.001), whereas the OKT4+ cells were within the normal range. Therefore, the OKT4/OKT8 ratio was significantly elevated compared with that in untreated MM patients and normal controls (3.31 vs 2.06 vs 2.13; P<0.005).

To sum up, in MM the results revealed a reduction of T cells, mainly of OKT4+ cells, which is intensified by chemotherapy and persists even after a long therapy-free interval. The different findings of T cell subsets in BMG and MM may be a helpful criterion to differentiate between BMG and MM.

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Correspondence to L. Bergmann.

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Bergmann, L., Mitrou, P.S., Weber, K.C. et al. Imbalances of T-cell subsets in monoclonal gammopathies. Cancer Immunol Immunother 17, 112–116 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00200046

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  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Cell Subset
  • Lymphocyte Subset
  • Rosette Formation