Peripheral blood and bone marrow were studied in 21 men with disseminated untreated bronchial cancer in an attempt to define abnormalities of erythropoiesis associated with the development of anaemia. Haemoglobin concentration at or below 13 g/dl was present in 13 cases. Marrow morphology was normal in all cases except one, in which small numbers of tumour cells were found. Clonal assay of erythroid progenitors showed a significant decrease in the number of BFU-E (p = 0.03) and CFU-E (p = 0.01) compared with cultures from normal marrow (12 subjects). The growth of granulocyte and macrophage progenitors (GM-CFCs) was similar in patients with bronchial cancer and normal subjects. When normal marrow was incubated in the presence of serum from bronchial cancer patients, no inhibitory factors could be detected either for BFU-E or CFU-E growth. In all patients circulating T8 numbers were significantly raised (p = 0.0002). Consequently, the median T4:T8 ratio in blood was 1.2, and this was significantly lower than the ratio of 1.7 found in 20 normal subjects (p = 0.036). In 18 patients the bone marrow T4:T8 ratio of 1.1 was significantly lower than the ratio of 2.9 found in seven normal subjects (p = 0.04). Total blood white cell counts, neutrophils, and monocyte numbers were also increased (p = 0.0001; p = 0.0001; p = 0.002).
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