A study of lymphocyte kinetics in nasopharyngeal carcinoma with indium III oxine-labelled lymphocytes

Clin Exp Immunol. 1988 Dec;74(3):398-403.


The kinetics of lymphocyte migration in 12 pre-treatment patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and three cancer controls in remission were studied with Indium III oxine-labelled autologous lymphocytes. The migratory patterns of the labelled lymphocytes were defined by serial gamma imaging and blood clearance of Indium over 72 h. Once in the systemic circulation the labelled lymphocytes migrated immediately to the liver and spleen. In all the subjects studied the lymphocytes began to migrate out of the liver at 0.5 h, only to return to the organ gradually between 2 and 72 h. In the control subjects the lymphocytes migrated out of the spleen from about 4 h. This coincided with a hump in the peripheral blood clearance curve after about 4 h signifying re-entry of the lymphocytes into the vascular space from the spleen. In the 'early' NPC subjects (Stage I-III) the rate at which the lymphocytes entered the spleen was much reduced from about 4 to 72 h, suggesting a prolonged transit time of the lymphocyte through the organ. However, there were still prominent humps in the blood clearance curves, suggesting significant re-entry of lymphocytes into the vascular space. In the 'late' NPC subjects (Stage IV-V), the activity of the spleen was low between 4 and 72 h and there was continuous sequestration of lymphocytes in the organ. Consequently the humps in the blood clearance curves were much reduced or absent. The activities of the metastatic lymph nodes were intense between 2 and 48 h, suggesting marked sequestration of lymphocytes in the diseased lymph nodes. Migration of lymphocytes in the metastatic area of the liver was notably absent and presented as cold areas on gamma scanning. The sequestration of lymphocytes in the spleen and metastatic lymph nodes in 'early' and 'late' NPC could lead to a contraction of intravascular lymphocyte pool and could explain the stage-dependent lymphopenia reported in NPC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Movement
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Lymphopenia / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / complications
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Oxyquinoline / analogs & derivatives
  • Time Factors


  • Indium Radioisotopes
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • indium oxine
  • Oxyquinoline