Circulating antibody to endotoxin core glycolipid and total serum immunoglobulin concentrations were measured in 86 children with cancer (54 with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, four with acute myeloid leukaemia, and 28 with various solid tumours). Measurements were made before treatment in the group with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia as well as when patients were both on and off chemotherapy. In the other two groups measurements were made when patients were both on and off treatment. Significant reductions in endotoxin antibody and serum immunoglobulin concentrations were found only in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. In addition, there was a significant correlation between febrile episodes and the concentration of antibody to core glycolipid in the children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. These findings suggest that the use of prophylactic high titre endotoxin antibody may be of benefit to children with life threatening Gram negative infections who are receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy.
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