Our observations of 135 patients indicate that 37 per cent of those suffering from Hodgkin’s disease exhibit abnormal cells in the leukocyte concentrates of the peripheral blood during the course of their illness. Typical Sternberg-Reed cells were found in 18.5 per cent of patients and were present only in the advanced stages of generalized Hodgkin’s disease.
The presence of Sternberg-Reed cells in the peripheral blood indicates an advanced stage of the disease but does not necessarily predict an immediately fatal outcome.
Comparative studies, searching for Sternberg-Reed cells in the splenic circulation, showed no Sternberg-Reed cells to be present in the splenic arteries of patients with Hodgkin’s disease; but numerous Sternberg-Reed cells were present in the splenic vein, particularly after mechanical squeezing of the spleen. A possible hypothesis is given to support the evidence for the circulation of Sternberg-Reed cells and an explanation for their lower incidence in the peripheral blood.
Our observations support the hematogenous metastasis of Hodgkin’s disease.