Immune responses in patients with brain tumors: Factors such as anti‐convulsants that may contribute to impaired cell‐mediated immunity

E. A. Neuwelt, K. Kikuchi, S. Hill, P. Lipsky, E. P. Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


The responsiveness of lymphocytes obtained from patients with brain tumors to in vitro stimulation with mitogenic lectins was examined. The previously reported finding of decreased responsiveness was confirmed. To investigate the factors responsible for the hyporesponsiveness, mitogen (phytohemagglutin and pokeweed mitogen) induced lymphocyte activation was evaluated using lymphocytes from 22 patients with brain tumors and 22 normal individuals. Lymphocytes from 13 patients with brain tumors, showed depressed responsiveness when cultured in autologous serum; in eight this was marked and in five moderate. Normal, rather than autologous, serum corrected lymphocyte function from only one of the markedly hyporesponsive patients, suggesting the existence of an intrinsic lymphocyte abnormality in some patients with brain tumors. However, serum from the hyporesponsive patients depressed mitogen‐induced activation of lymphocytes from both tumor patients and normals. The presence of suppressive serum factors could not be related to the nature of the tumor (benign versus malignant, site, cell type or degree of anaplasia). The present studies showed that significant depression of in vitro lymphocyte responsiveness occurred with exposure to two anti‐convulsant agents (phenytoin and phenobarbital) and dexamethasone. Thus, impaired lymphocyte function in patients with brain tumors may have a complex explanation with drug (corticosteroids, anticonvulsants) induced suppression playing a significant role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1983


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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