Background. Autologous blood transfusion has been avoided in cancer surgery because of the metastatic potential of reinfused tumour cells.
Methods. This study evaluated the efficacy of a blood transfusion filter in removing tumour cells from blood. Whole human blood was admixed with two different malignant cell lines (breast cancer PMI and MCF7). The blood was filtered through a RC400TE leucocyte depletion filter. Unfiltered blood was used as a control. Detection of malignant cells was performed with immuno-magnetic beads and clonogenic assays.
Results No viable tumour cells were found after filtration with the leucocyte depletion filter.
Conclusion. These findings suggest that the use of a leucocyte filter after intra-operative blood salvage may make autotrans-fusion safe even in tumour surgery.