A study of prednisone therapy in 18 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia is reported.
1. Antileukemic effects consisting of subjective improvement, decrease in organ infiltration, improvement in hemoglobulin and absolute neutrophil count occurred.
2. These effects were transient.
3. An increase, often marked, in the number of circulating lymphocytes occurred in 16 of the 18 patients.
4. The administration of prednisone was attended by an increase in the severity of infections. Some increase in the frequency of infections was also observed, but this was not statistically significant (p > 0.05).
It is concluded that corticosteroids should not be used electively in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia except in the presence of hemolytic anemia, significant thrombocytopenia or in the presence of advanced disease associated with bone marrow failure.