Patients with cancer and chemotherapy-induced neutropenia are at risk for severe bacterial infections. This risk is not uniform among all cancer patients but is dependent primarily on the depth and duration of neutropenia and the type of underlying disease. Accordingly, the decision whether to use antibacterial prophylaxis to prevent serious infections in these patients requires a balance between expected benefit and the risks for infection, adverse drug-related events, and emergence of antibiotic resistance. Although antibacterial prophylaxis has the potential to benefit all patients with chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, the benefit regarding reduction in documented infections has been firmly established only in patients with neutropenia expected to exceed 7 days. A recent meta-analysis showed enhanced survival in patients receiving antibacterial prophylaxis during neutropenia; most patients enrolled in the analyzed trials had a hematologic malignancy. Among patients with neutropenia at lower risk for infectious complications (a category that includes most patients with solid tumor malignancies), the main benefit of antibacterial prophylaxis relates to a reduction in fever rather than documented infections. The authors advise quinolone prophylaxis (levofloxacin is preferred), in patients with an expected duration of neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count < 1000/μL) of more than 7 days. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole should be used in patients at risk for Pneumocystis jiroveci (formerly P carinii), such as childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In patients with neutropenia expected to last 7 days or less and not receiving immunosuppressive regimens (e.g., systemic corticosteroids), the authors recommend no initial prophylaxis. However, if such patients develop fever during neutropenia, they should be considered for outpatient empiric therapy with an oral quinolone–containing regimen if they meet criteria for low risk for complications.
Brahm H. Segal and Alison G. Freifeld
Lindsey Robert Baden, Sankar Swaminathan, Michael Angarone, Gayle Blouin, Bernard C. Camins, Corey Casper, Brenda Cooper, Erik R. Dubberke, Ashley Morris Engemann, Alison G. Freifeld, John N. Greene, James I. Ito, Daniel R. Kaul, Mark E. Lustberg, Jose G. Montoya, Ken Rolston, Gowri Satyanarayana, Brahm Segal, Susan K. Seo, Shmuel Shoham, Randy Taplitz, Jeffrey Topal, John W. Wilson, Karin G. Hoffmann and Courtney Smith
Infectious diseases are important causes of morbidity and mortality in patients with cancer. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer-Related Infections characterize the major pathogens to which patients with cancer are susceptible, with a focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of major common and opportunistic infections. This portion of the guidelines highlights the sections on antifungal and antiviral prophylaxis. Antifungal and antiviral prophylaxis recommendations have expanded over the past few years. New agents for the treatment of fungal infections and incorporation of therapeutic drug monitoring are presented. Antiviral prophylaxis for hepatitis B and management considerations for hepatitis C and HIV have been further developed.
Lindsey Robert Baden, William Bensinger, Michael Angarone, Corey Casper, Erik R. Dubberke, Alison G. Freifeld, Ramiro Garzon, John N. Greene, John P. Greer, James I. Ito, Judith E. Karp, Daniel R. Kaul, Earl King, Emily Mackler, Kieren A. Marr, Jose G. Montoya, Ashley Morris-Engemann, Peter G. Pappas, Ken Rolston, Brahm Segal, Susan K. Seo, Sankar Swaminathan, Maoko Naganuma and Dorothy A. Shead
Patients with cancer are at increased risk for developing infectious complications during the course of their disease and treatment. The following sections of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer-Related Infections provide an overview of the risk factors for infectious complications, recommendations for infectious risk categorization, and strategies for prevention of infections in high-risk patient populations with cancer. Individualized risk evaluation for infections and incorporation of preventative measures are essential components of the overall spectrum of cancer care, and may contribute to optimizing treatment outcomes for patients.