In four patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia the lymphocytes from 500 ml of their blood were labeled in vitro with tritiated cytidine and autotransfused. Samples of blood, lymph node biopsies, and bone marrow aspirate were autoradiographed, and the in vivo turnover of RNA was estimated by the change in mean grain count of the labeled lymphicytes. The patients were subsequently treated by extracorporeal irradiation of the blood (ECIB). The clinical course of the disease, and the lymphocytopenic effect of the extracorporeal irradiation, varied inversely with the rate of RNA turnover. We hypothesized that the increased radio-resistance of chronic lymphocytic leukemia lymphocytes is related to increased RNA turnover of the lymphocytes.

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