Neutropenia and its complications, including febrile neutropenia (FN), represent major toxicities associated with cancer chemotherapy, resulting in considerable morbidity, mortality, and costs. The myeloid growth factors such as granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) have been shown to reduce the risk of neutropenia complications while enabling safe and effective chemotherapy dose intensity. Concerns about the high costs of these agents along with limited physician adherence to clinical practice guidelines, resulting in both overuse and underuse, has stimulated interest in models for individual patient risk assessment to guide appropriate use of G-CSF. In a model developed and validated by the ANC Study Group, half of patients were classified as high risk and half as low risk based on patient-, disease-, and treatment-related factors. This model has been further validated in an independent patient population. Physician-assessed risk of FN, as well as the decision to use prophylactic CSF, has been shown to correlate poorly with the FN risk estimated by the model. Additional modeling efforts in both adults and children receiving cancer treatment have been reported. Identification of patients at a high individual risk for FN and its consequences may offer the potential for optimal chemotherapy delivery and patient outcomes. Likewise, identification of patients at low risk for neutropenic events may reduce costs when such supportive care is not warranted. This article reviews and summarizes FN modeling studies and the opportunities for personalizing supportive care in patients receiving chemotherapy.
Correspondence: Gary H. Lyman, MD, MPH, FRCP(Edin), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109-1024. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org