ACUTE lymphatic leukemia is a rapidly fatal disease. Simmons1 recently reviewed the possible role of the thymus in leukemia and noted the experimental work of McEndy and others2 which indicated that there is a reduction of the incidence of spontaneous leukemia in a high-leukemia stock of mice after thymectomy. The scholarly review of Simmons and his suggestion that thymectomy be tried in lymphatic leukemia led to the performance of this operation in four cases of the disease.
The patients' ages were 18 mo., 2 yr., 3 yr., and 4 yr. Patients 1 and 3 were girls, and Patients 2 and 4 were boys. In each case the diagnosis of leukemia was made from the clinical picture of pallor, petechiae, bleeding tendency, splenomegaly (in three cases), hepatomegaly, generalized lymphadenopathy, a lymphocyte count of 90 to 100%, with an excess of young types, low platelet count, and positive bone marrow