Glucocorticoid receptors in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Ellis G. Levine, Bruce A Peterson, Kendall A. Smith, David D. Hurd, Clara D. Bloomfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Glucocortoid receptor (GR) levels have not been extensively studied in untreated patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We have measured tumor GR levels using a whole cell assay in 18 untreated patients with CLL and correlated these levels with various in-vitro and in-vivo data. In 12 of these patients, tumor cells from more than one tissue were simultaneously studied. Measurable GR levels were found in all 36 specimens studied with median total GR levels in blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes being 3018 (n = 17), 3524 (n = 12) and 3102 (n = 7) sites/cell respectively. GR levels did not correlate with in-vitro sensitivity, as measured by inhibition by dexamethasone of radiolabelled leucine, uridine, and thymidine uptake, nor with the clinical or laboratory features examined. Nine patients were treated with dexamethasone as a single agent; blood GR levels were not predictive of antitumor response. We conclude that in patients with CLL, malignant cells from all involved tissues have measurable numbers of GRs, but these are not correlated with in-vitro sensitivity to glucocorticoid. Blood GR levels do not correlate with antitumor response; further studies are required to see if bone marrow or lymph node receptor levels correlate with antitumor response to steroids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-999
Number of pages7
JournalLeukemia research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1985

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
*Supported in part by Public Health Service Grant CA 26273, The Coleman Leukemia Research Fund, the Masonic Memorial Hospital Fund, Inc., and American Cancer Society Grant #CH-167. Dr Levine is a fellow of the Leukemia Society of America. Abbreviations: GR, glucocorticoid receptor; CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia; cpm, counts per minute. Correspondence to: Ellis G. Levine, Box 431, University; of Minnesota Hospitals Minneapolis, MN 55455, U.S.A.


  • Glucocorticoid receptors
  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • glucocorticoid therapy


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