Allogeneic blood transfusions have been reported to induce immunomodulation in recipients of blood products. While the mechanism(s) of this immunomodulatory effect is unknown, it has been suggested that this effect of allogeneic blood transfusions could adversely affect patients with a malignant disorder. These concerns have been supported by a number of nonrandomized, mainly retrospective, clinical studies which indicate that allogeneic blood transfusions can adversely affect prognosis following the surgical treatment of oncology patients. Recently, we have shown that allogeneic blood transfusions enhance primary tumor growth and increase metastatic pulmonary nodule formation in inbred mice. The tumor growth-promoting activity of allogeneic blood transfusions was studied also using outbred rabbits. In this present study, we demonstrate that the tumor growth-promoting effect of allogeneic blood transfusions is mediated by donor leukocytes and that this effect can be abolished by their removal before transfusion. We show also that the allogeneic blood transfusion tumor growth-promoting effect can be passively transferred to naive animals (both mice and rabbits) using spleen cells from allogeneically transfused animals. In these experiments, numbers of metastatic pulmonary nodules were significantly increased in both mice and rabbits that had received spleen cells from allogeneically transfused animals compared with those that had received spleen cells from syngeneically transfused animals, or from animals that had been transfused with leukodepleted allogeneic blood.

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