Supportive Care in Cancer: Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
BACKGROUND: Despite the widespread use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the general population for the treatment of chronic diseases, only few data have been published for patients with leukemia. The aim of this survey was to study systematically the use of CAM in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). PATIENTS AND METHODS: A structured questionnaire was sent to 247 CLL patients of all clinical stages and disease durations, treated and untreated. The questionnaire was returned anonymously by 87 patients (35%).
Relatively few cancers arise in mature, differentiated cells. The propensity of mature B cells to transform has been linked to their longevity and proliferative potential, and stimulation of the B cell receptor (BCR) by cognate antigen may promote the transformation process. A study in this issue (Hoogeboom et al.) lends support to this notion, showing that cancer cells from a subset of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) express a BCR specific for a sugar expressed by commensal yeast species.