Question about levels of ___ after chemo

My friend has just gone through five very intense cycles of chemotherapy for lymphoma. He’s now in partial remission (with one more cycle to go, to be followed by a stem cell transplant). Apparently his remission is substantial because his (somethings) that had been 17 are now down to 3.
My question is, what levels or dimensions do the 17 and 3 refer to?

Could it be creatinine levels? That is a common test to check kidney function. When my brother went through chemo, they were very concerned about that (and ended up putting him in the hospital, until they figured it out). I think the chemo was affecting his kidneys.

Regardless, I wish the best for your friend. Cancer is tough to fight (and even tougher not to).

What kind of cancer does he have?

(And a serum creatinine of 17 would probably be fatal.)

Here’s what he told me a few months ago: (Non-Hodgkins) Double-hit lymphoma is " a rare type of aggressive B-cell lymphoma defined as a high-grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBCL) with the presence of MYC, BCL2 and/or BCL6 rearrangements.

This link says that a normal B-cell level is 100 to 600 cells per microliter (cubic millimeter) so if he went from, say 1,700 to 300, that would be a good thing.

Complete Blood Count (CBC) | CancerQuest(100%2D600%20cells,in%20the%20marrow%20to%20mature.

Thank you!

High Blood cell counts are not diagnostic of non-hodkins lymphoma.

For a time there he had no immune system. They killed his bone marrow, and so they reseed it with the bone marrow stem cell transplant … that they had harvested earlier and hopefully cleaned of cancerous versions… ( not sure why they don’t call it restoration. ) So the white blood cell count would have gone to zero during the treatment, its certainly not clear that its the one they were looking at.

It could have been the white blood cell count… the pathogens had a free run when he had a weak immune system, and now the white blood cells have come back en masse. They need to know that he has the bacteria under control …

But that reminds me, he could be on strongest levels of antibiotics… no immune system…bacteria get a free run … they may have induced some high level of something with antibiotics. I think they often interfere with liver or kidney…which may already be weak from the chemo … So the basic tests that these two function would be done and the high result is not some sort of emergency or requires the oncologoist specialist to assess , its just a reason to delay release.

Ah. Thanks. Not sure I understand the rest of your post, but he’s not quite finished with chemo yet. The Stem Cell Transplant will be scheduled afterward.
I’ve just been told he’s seeing his oncologist tomorrow, and have asked his wife to get clarification. If she’s up to it, they’re both exhausted.

Thanks everybody, I appreciate your responses.

I’m back. His wife showed me the Petscan report. It’s a lot of technical terminolgy, but if my limited interpretation is correct, the figures “Was 17, is now 3” applied to one of his lymph nodes, presumably the most significant one.
When he started chemo, his Background SUV was 16.2. Five grueling chemo cycles* later, it’s down to 3. His oncologist notes that this partial remission is “an excellent response to therapy.”

Standardized Uptake Value (SUV) is a semiquantitative measurement of uptake in tissue.


  • Every 21 days a new cycle would begin, consisting a 6 hour infusion, followed the next day with an uninterrupted 96 hour infusion. In three days he’ll complete his sixth and final cycle, and will then find out when his stem cell transplant will happen.

Over and Out.

Your friend’s survival of non-hodgkin double-hit b-cell lymphoma is amazing.

My late husband had diffuse large b-cell lymphoma with a double hit. (DLBCL-DH) Five years ago, the journal articles called survival prognosis “dismal” and it’s still challenging to treat.

What I remember hearing about life with the stem cell transplant is that the immune system is pretty much completely set back to factory defaults. They’ll need all of the regular “childhood” vaccines, and for a good while, they’ll be susceptible to all sorts of infections.

Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m sorry you lost your husband.

We’re all amazed at how well my friend tolerated the chemo, physically and psychologically- relatively mild side effects, remarkable degree of partial remission, and he’s bald, exhausted but feeling positive about his chances.

But he’s not out of the woods yet- his impending Stem Cell Transplant will involve a two to three month stay in or very close by the clinic in Seattle, 300 miles from home.
And as you point out, he’ll be in serious danger from any infections for months afterward. He’s been told it can take as long as a year after the transplant for his immune system to recover fully.