Neutropenia in the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Rahmann et al. (15) evaluated the incidence of febrile neutropenia ([FN) body temperature >37.2°C and ANC < 1 x 109/L) in patients with metastatic breast cancer who received systemic chemotherapy. Twenty-three percent of patients developed FN; the incidence of fever did not increase until the ANC was <0.5 x 109/L. The risk of infection was not increased until the ANC was <0.25 x 109/L; FN occurred in patients with a poor performance status or during the first course of chemotherapy (Fig. 1). The development of FN requires the administration of either combination antibiotics or single agent P-lactam therapy (16). Patients who receive myeolsuppressive therapy are at significant risk for infection and fever that require antibiotic treatment and may delay subsequent courses of chemotherapy.

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