Humoral immunity against diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis after antineoplastic therapy in children and adolescents--a retrospective analysis

Vaccine. 2000 Jul 1;18(26):2999-3004. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(00)00092-x.


Serum antibodies against diphtheria- and tetanus-toxin were measured in 71 children and against poliomyelitis viruses 1-3 in 65 children and adolescents 0-18 months after cessation of antineoplastic therapy. Non or marginally protective serum titers were found in 62% of patients against diphtheria, in 18% of patients against tetanus and in 72% of patients against one or more poliomyelitis virus serotypes. Of these patients, 55%, 46% and 75% were immunized adequately according to age against diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis, respectively. In 50% or more of patients a lack of protective immunity against diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis was found which could not be explained by an inadequate immunization status. This suggests that other factors (e.g. influence of underlying illness, antineoplastic therapy or both on lymphocytes) might be responsible for these findings and this deserves further investigation. Measurement of serum antibodies against vaccine-preventable illnesses and consecutive booster immunizations are an essential part of long-term follow up in pediatric patients after antineoplastic therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diphtheria Toxin / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Male
  • Poliovirus / immunology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tetanus Toxin / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Diphtheria Toxin
  • Tetanus Toxin