Cancer survivors are at an elevated risk for infection because of immune suppression associated with prior cancer treatments, and they are at increased risk of complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides recommendations for the prevention of infections in survivors through education, antimicrobial prophylaxis, and the judicious use of vaccines. These guidelines provide information about travel and gardening precautions and safe pet care/avoidance of zoonosis, and include detailed recommendations regarding vaccinations that should be considered and encouraged in cancer and transplant survivors.

Abstract

Cancer survivors are at an elevated risk for infection because of immune suppression associated with prior cancer treatments, and they are at increased risk of complications from vaccine-preventable diseases. This section of the NCCN Guidelines for Survivorship provides recommendations for the prevention of infections in survivors through education, antimicrobial prophylaxis, and the judicious use of vaccines. These guidelines provide information about travel and gardening precautions and safe pet care/avoidance of zoonosis, and include detailed recommendations regarding vaccinations that should be considered and encouraged in cancer and transplant survivors.

NCCN Categories of Evidence and Consensus

Category 1: Based upon high-level evidence, there is uniform NCCN consensus that the intervention is appropriate.

Category 2A: Based upon lower-level evidence, there is uniform NCCN consensus that the intervention is appropriate.

Category 2B: Based upon lower-level evidence, there is NCCN consensus that the intervention is appropriate.

Category 3: Based upon any level of evidence, there is major NCCN disagreement that the intervention is appropriate.

All recommendations are category 2A unless otherwise noted.

Clinical trials: NCCN believes that the best management for any cancer patient is in a clinical trial. Participation in clinical trials is especially encouraged.

Cancer survivors are at elevated risk for infection because of immune suppression associated with previous cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, corticosteroids, certain surgeries, and stem cell transplantation. In fact, antibody titers to vaccine-preventable diseases decrease after anticancer treatment.1,2 In addition, survivors are at increased risk of complications from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as those caused by human papillomaviruses (HPV) and influenza viruses.2,3

Many infections in survivors can be prevented by the use of vaccines. However, a recent report of data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) found that 42% of survivors did not receive an influenza vaccination in 2009, and 52% reported never receiving a pneumococcal vaccination.4 Analysis of the SEER-Medicare database showed that breast cancer survivors, aged 65 years or older, were less likely to receive an influenza vaccination than matched noncancer controls.5 A separate analysis of the SEER-Medicare database by another group found similar results.6

Vaccines represent a unique challenge in cancer and transplant survivors because they may not trigger the desired protective immune responses because of possible residual immune deficits.7 In addition, certain vaccines, such as those that are live attenuated (eg, zoster; measles, mumps, rubella [MMR]), are contraindicated in actively immunosuppressed survivors because of an increased risk of developing the disease and/or prolonged shedding from the live organism given in the vaccine.

Risk Assessment and Screening for Immunizations and Prevention of Infections

Survivors are at elevated risk for infections if their cancer treatment included chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, radiation, corticosteroids, splenectomy, and/or hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT; which includes peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, bone marrow transplantation, and cord blood transplantation). Risk is also elevated if the survivor has prior or current exposure to endemic infections or epidemics, or has a history of blood transfusion.

F1NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship: Immunizations and Prevention of Infections, Version 2.2014

Version 2.2014, 07-22-14 ©2014 National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2014, All rights reserved. The NCCN Guidelines® and this illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of NCCN®.

Citation: Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network J Natl Compr Canc Netw 12, 8; 10.6004/jnccn.2014.0107

F2NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship: Immunizations and Prevention of Infections, Version 2.2014

Version 2.2014, 07-22-14 ©2014 National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2014, All rights reserved. The NCCN Guidelines® and this illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of NCCN®.

Citation: Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network J Natl Compr Canc Netw 12, 8; 10.6004/jnccn.2014.0107

F3NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship: Immunizations and Prevention of Infections, Version 2.2014

Version 2.2014, 07-22-14 ©2014 National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2014, All rights reserved. The NCCN Guidelines® and this illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of NCCN®.

Citation: Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network J Natl Compr Canc Netw 12, 8; 10.6004/jnccn.2014.0107

F4NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship: Immunizations and Prevention of Infections, Version 2.2014

Version 2.2014, 07-22-14 ©2014 National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2014, All rights reserved. The NCCN Guidelines® and this illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of NCCN®.

Citation: Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network J Natl Compr Canc Netw 12, 8; 10.6004/jnccn.2014.0107

Interventions for Prevention of Infections

Infection in survivors can be prevented by education, antimicrobial prophylaxis, and the judicious use of vaccines.

Antimicrobial Prophylaxis and Education

Survivors should be educated about safe pet care/the avoidance of zoonosis, travel precautions, and gardening precautions.8-13 Safe pet care tips include washing hands with soap and running water after handling animals and their feces. If possible, survivors should avoid direct contact with animal feces. Travel precautions include education on the need for pretravel vaccines, prophylaxis against specific infections, and education on how to prevent water-borne, airborne, and zoonotic infections. Travelers may find useful information at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2014/chapter-8-advising-travelers-with-specific-needs/immunocompromised-travelers or through consulting a travel clinic. Gardening precautions include wearing gloves to avoid cuts and punctures that could be delayed in healing or could become infected with fungus or staphylococcus/streptococcus that may be present on thorns, and wearing a protective mask to avoid inhalation of spores.

For information regarding antimicrobial prophylaxis, please see the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer-Related Infections (to view the most recent version of these guidelines, visit NCCN.org).

Immunizations

Vaccination, or “active immunization,” involves administration of all or part of a microorganism or a modified product of a microorganism (eg, a toxoid, a purified antigen, or an antigen produced by genetic engineering) to produce an immunologic response that mimics that of natural infection but usually presents little or no risk to the recipient. The use of vaccines that do not contain live organisms should be considered and encouraged in all cancer and transplant survivors who have completed therapy at least 3 months before the planned vaccine administration. In general, the usual doses and schedules are recommended, as outlined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.14,15 The Infectious Diseases Society of America has outlined guidance for vaccination in immunocompromised patients, including those with cancer and those post-HCT.16 The NCCN Survivorship Panel outlined immunization guidelines specific to survivors of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, with separate guidelines for survivors who received HCT. In survivors who received anti-B-cell antibody therapy, vaccination should be delayed for at least 6 months after chemotherapy or the last dose of such therapy to allow for reconstitution of the B-cell population. More details are available in the guidelines (NCCN.org).

Before vaccination, immune system viability and history of allergic reactions to vaccines should be assessed. Baseline WBC counts should be in the normal range or within reasonable limits before starting vaccinations, unless they are elevated because of disease status. The survivor should not be on immunosuppressive drugs or chemotherapy, and ongoing infection should not be present.

The following vaccines should be considered and encouraged for all survivors, administered according to the usual doses and schedules: influenza vaccine (only inactivated or recombinant); pneumococcal vaccine (PPSV-23/PCV-13); tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap); and HPV (in survivors aged ≤26 years).17-19 These vaccines do not contain live organisms; instead they contain inactivated organisms, purified antigens, bacterial components, or genetically engineered recombinant antigens. The effectiveness of these vaccinations might be suboptimal because of lingering immune suppression.7 However, in the absence of known harm, their administration may be worthwhile with the hope of achieving some protection.

Other vaccines, as listed in the guidelines, should be considered in consultation with an infectious disease or travel medicine specialist if unique circumstances in the survivor’s lifestyle, upcoming travel, or local epidemic/risks merit their use.

Influenza Vaccines: Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all cancer and transplant survivors. Live attenuated influenza vaccines should generally be avoided in this population. Preferred vaccines include inactivated influenza vaccines (ie, trivalent [IIV3] standard-dose, trivalent [IIV3] high-dose, and quadrivalent [IIV4] standard-dose) or, for individuals with egg allergies, recombinant influenza vaccine (ie, trivalent [RIV3]).15,20 To date, no evidence shows superiority of any one of these vaccines.

Live Viral Vaccines: Vaccines that contain live attenuated organisms (eg, live-attenuated influenza vaccine; MMR; oral polio vaccine [OPV]) are contraindicated in actively immunocompromised survivors because of a proven or theoretical increased risk of disease and prolonged shedding from the live organism present in the vaccine. They should not be offered to actively immunocompromised survivors unless cleared by a clinician experienced in vaccine use or by an infectious disease specialist. However, live viral vaccines can be administered to immunocompetent survivors 3 or more months after treatment, but consultation with an infectious disease specialist or clinician familiar with vaccination in patients with cancer is recommended. An exception is the live-attenuated influenza vaccine, which should be avoided in survivors because safer alternatives exist (see earlier discussion).

Healthy immunocompetent individuals who live in a household with immunocompromised survivors can receive the following live vaccines: MMR, rotavirus vaccine in infants aged 2 to 7 months, varicella vaccine (VAR), and zoster vaccine. However, OPV should not be administered to individuals who live in a household with immunocompromised survivors. Highly immunocompromised survivors should avoid handling diapers of infants who have received the rotavirus vaccine for 4 weeks after vaccination. Immunocompromised survivors should avoid contact with persons who develop skin lesions after receipt of VAR or zoster vaccine until the lesions clear.

Zoster (Shingles) Vaccine: A single dose of zoster (shingles) vaccine is recommended for survivors aged 60 years or older without active or ongoing immunodeficiency, no history of cellular immunodeficiency or HCT, or who have not received chemotherapy or radiation within the past 3 months, and it can be given at least 4 weeks before initiation of chemotherapy or immunosuppressive drugs.16,21,22 Zoster vaccination should also be considered for survivors aged 50 to 59 years with a history of varicella or zoster infection (VZV) or VZV seropositivity with no previous doses of varicella vaccine. The zoster vaccine should be avoided in immunocompromised survivors, but can be considered in transplant survivors without active graft-versus-host disease or enhanced immunosuppression 24 or more months after transplantation.

Individual Disclosures for the NCCN Survivorship Panel

T1

References

  • 1.

    KwonHJLeeJWChungNG. Assessment of serologic immunity to diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis after treatment of Korean pediatric hematology and oncology patients. J Korean Med Sci2012;27:7883.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    LjungmanPCordonnierCEinseleH. Vaccination of hematopoietic cell transplant recipients. Bone Marrow Transplant2009;44:521526.

  • 3.

    KloskyJLGambleHLSpuntSL. Human papillomavirus vaccination in survivors of childhood cancer. Cancer2009;115:56275636.

  • 4.

    UnderwoodJMTownsendJSStewartSL. Surveillance of demographic characteristics and health behaviors among adult cancer survivors—Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2009. MMWR Surveill Summ2012;61:123.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    SnyderCFFrickKDPeairsKS. Comparing care for breast cancer survivors to non-cancer controls: a five-year longitudinal study. J Gen Intern Med2009;24:469474.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    LocherJLRucksACSpencerSA. Influenza immunization in older adults with and without cancer. J Am Geriatr Soc2012;60:20992103.

  • 7.

    SmallTNZelenetzADNoyA. Pertussis immunity and response to tetanus-reduced diphtheria-reduced pertussis vaccine (Tdap) after autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant2009;15:15381542.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT). The immunocompromised traveller. An Advisory Committee Statement (ACS). Can Commun Dis Rep2007;33:124.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    GradelKONorgaardMDethlefsenC. Increased risk of zoonotic Salmonella and Campylobacter gastroenteritis in patients with haematological malignancies: a population-based study. Ann Hematol2009;88:761767.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    LortholaryOCharlierCLebeauxD. Fungal infections in immunocompromised travelers. Clin Infect Dis2013;56:861869.

  • 11.

    ManiIMaguireJH. Small animal zoonoses and immuncompromised pet owners. Top Companion Anim Med2009;24:164174.

  • 12.

    Partridge-HinckleyKLiddellGMAlmyroudisNGSegalBH. Infection control measures to prevent invasive mould diseases in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Mycopathologia2009;168:329337.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    VisserLG. The immunosuppressed traveler. Infect Dis Clin North Am2012;26:609624.

  • 14.

    National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. General recommendations on immunization—recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep2011;60:164.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    BridgesCBCoyne-BeasleyT; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended immunization schedule for adults aged 19 years or older: United States, 2014. Ann Intern Med2014;160:190.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    RubinLGLevinMJLjungmanP. 2013 IDSA clinical practice guideline for vaccination of the immunocompromised host. Clin Infect Dis2014;58:309318.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0 through 18 years and adults aged 19 years and older—United States, 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ2013;62(Suppl 1):1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2013*. Ann Intern Med2013;158:191199.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for adults with immunocompromising conditions: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep2012;61:816819.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices—United States, 2013-2014. MMWR Recomm Rep2013;62:143.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    HarpazROrtega-SanchezIRSewardJF. Prevention of herpes zoster: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep2008;57:130; quiz CE32-34.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    WeaverBA; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update on the advisory committee on immunization practices’ recommendations for use of herpes zoster vaccine. J Am Osteopath Assoc2011;111:S3133.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

Article Sections

Figures

  • View in gallery
    NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship: Immunizations and Prevention of Infections, Version 2.2014

    Version 2.2014, 07-22-14 ©2014 National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2014, All rights reserved. The NCCN Guidelines® and this illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of NCCN®.

  • View in gallery
    NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship: Immunizations and Prevention of Infections, Version 2.2014

    Version 2.2014, 07-22-14 ©2014 National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2014, All rights reserved. The NCCN Guidelines® and this illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of NCCN®.

  • View in gallery
    NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship: Immunizations and Prevention of Infections, Version 2.2014

    Version 2.2014, 07-22-14 ©2014 National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2014, All rights reserved. The NCCN Guidelines® and this illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of NCCN®.

  • View in gallery
    NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Survivorship: Immunizations and Prevention of Infections, Version 2.2014

    Version 2.2014, 07-22-14 ©2014 National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2014, All rights reserved. The NCCN Guidelines® and this illustration may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of NCCN®.

References

  • 1.

    KwonHJLeeJWChungNG. Assessment of serologic immunity to diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis after treatment of Korean pediatric hematology and oncology patients. J Korean Med Sci2012;27:7883.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    LjungmanPCordonnierCEinseleH. Vaccination of hematopoietic cell transplant recipients. Bone Marrow Transplant2009;44:521526.

  • 3.

    KloskyJLGambleHLSpuntSL. Human papillomavirus vaccination in survivors of childhood cancer. Cancer2009;115:56275636.

  • 4.

    UnderwoodJMTownsendJSStewartSL. Surveillance of demographic characteristics and health behaviors among adult cancer survivors—Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2009. MMWR Surveill Summ2012;61:123.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    SnyderCFFrickKDPeairsKS. Comparing care for breast cancer survivors to non-cancer controls: a five-year longitudinal study. J Gen Intern Med2009;24:469474.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    LocherJLRucksACSpencerSA. Influenza immunization in older adults with and without cancer. J Am Geriatr Soc2012;60:20992103.

  • 7.

    SmallTNZelenetzADNoyA. Pertussis immunity and response to tetanus-reduced diphtheria-reduced pertussis vaccine (Tdap) after autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant2009;15:15381542.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT). The immunocompromised traveller. An Advisory Committee Statement (ACS). Can Commun Dis Rep2007;33:124.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    GradelKONorgaardMDethlefsenC. Increased risk of zoonotic Salmonella and Campylobacter gastroenteritis in patients with haematological malignancies: a population-based study. Ann Hematol2009;88:761767.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    LortholaryOCharlierCLebeauxD. Fungal infections in immunocompromised travelers. Clin Infect Dis2013;56:861869.

  • 11.

    ManiIMaguireJH. Small animal zoonoses and immuncompromised pet owners. Top Companion Anim Med2009;24:164174.

  • 12.

    Partridge-HinckleyKLiddellGMAlmyroudisNGSegalBH. Infection control measures to prevent invasive mould diseases in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Mycopathologia2009;168:329337.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    VisserLG. The immunosuppressed traveler. Infect Dis Clin North Am2012;26:609624.

  • 14.

    National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. General recommendations on immunization—recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep2011;60:164.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    BridgesCBCoyne-BeasleyT; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended immunization schedule for adults aged 19 years or older: United States, 2014. Ann Intern Med2014;160:190.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    RubinLGLevinMJLjungmanP. 2013 IDSA clinical practice guideline for vaccination of the immunocompromised host. Clin Infect Dis2014;58:309318.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0 through 18 years and adults aged 19 years and older—United States, 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ2013;62(Suppl 1):1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2013*. Ann Intern Med2013;158:191199.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for adults with immunocompromising conditions: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep2012;61:816819.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices—United States, 2013-2014. MMWR Recomm Rep2013;62:143.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    HarpazROrtega-SanchezIRSewardJF. Prevention of herpes zoster: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep2008;57:130; quiz CE32-34.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    WeaverBA; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update on the advisory committee on immunization practices’ recommendations for use of herpes zoster vaccine. J Am Osteopath Assoc2011;111:S3133.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Article Information

PubMed

Google Scholar

Related Articles

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 33 33 8
PDF Downloads 6 6 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0