Thymus-derived lymphocytes (T lymphocytes) were enumerated in patients with uveal malignant melanoma. Two T-lymphocyte subpopulations were determined, the active rosette forming cells (A-RFC) and the total rosette forming cells (T-RFC). Subjects were divided into the following groups: (a) pretreatment patients, (b) patients treated by enucleation, (c) patients treated by photocoagulation, (d) patients treated by cobalt plaque radiotherapy, (e) patients treated by enucleation who developed clinically detectable metastasis, and (f) normal controls. There were no differences in the numbers of A-RFC or T-RFC in the control population, pretreatment patients, and those treated in the different ways. Statistically significant depressions of A-RFC and T-RFC levels were seen in patients with metastatic lesions, suggesting that they had an impairment of immunocompetence, as measured by T-lymphocyte rosette formation.
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