Our work examined the production of intracellular interferon (INF)-γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-2, and IL-4 by in vitro stimulated CD3+ cells from 38 chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients. At the time of diagnosis the percentages of cells producing INF-γ, TNF-α, and IL-2 were strongly suppressed compared to those in healthy control subjects. Hematological remission achieved through treatment with tyrosine-kinase inhibitors was associated with a highly significant increase in the ratio of cells producing all 4 cytokines. The percentages of CD3+ cells producing cytokines were dependent on age, more so in CML patients than in healthy controls, and they negatively correlated with the number of leukocytes. Patients with an optimal therapy outcome possessed higher percentages of cytokine-producing CD3+ cells at diagnosis than those with nonoptimal outcomes. This difference was statistically significant in the case of INF-γ-producing cells, and it was on the brink of significance in the case of IL-2-producing cells.

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