Serial complement measurements in patients with leukaemia


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Summary. Haemolytic activity of the classical and alternative pathways and the levels of C4, C3 and factor B were serially measured in 153 serum samples of 41 patients with different types of leukaemia (9 AML, 14 ALL, 10 CML and 8 CLL). In parallel, the concentration of circulating immune complexes (CIC) was estimated using two methods, the complement consumption assay and the Clqsolubility test. Different complement profiles were found in different types of leukaemia. In AML, each complement parameter tested was elevated as compared to the control values (sera of healthy blood donors). Similar results were observed in ALL, although the differences were less marked. In CML, dissociation of the classical and alternative pathway activities was found: activities of the classical pathway and C4 were significantly elevated, whereas activity of the alternative pathway as well as C3 and factor B concentration did not differ significantly from the control values. In CLL, normal or slightly depressed complement levels were found. The concentration of circulating immune complexes measured by both methods was significantly increased as compared to control values. No significant positive or negative correlations were found between the complement levels and the immune complex concentrations determined in the same sera. An association between the clinical course of acute leukaemia and the complement levels was observed: significantly elevated complement titres were found in the blastic stage of the disease, whereas in remission normal values were recorded. The results of complement measurements performed in serum samples obtained before and after combination chemotherapy were compared on 32 occasions. In parallel to a significant decrease in the absolute number of blast cells in the peripheral blood, a normalization of the increased complement levels was observed after treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-34
Number of pages12
JournalClinical & Laboratory Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1983


  • complement
  • immune complexes
  • leukaemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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