Risks and consequences of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.
Neutropenia represents a major dose-limiting toxicity of chemotherapy and is associated with an increased risk of infection, impaired patient quality of life, and interference with the delivery of full-dose chemotherapy. These complications increase not only morbidity and mortality associated with cancer treatment but also the overall cost of care for cancer patients. Conversely, chemotherapy-induced neutropenia as a surrogate for delivered dose intensity has been associated with improved cancer survival. Administration of myeloid growth factors, such as filgrastim and pegfilgrastim, reduces the risk for neutropenic complications and facilitates the delivery of full-dose chemotherapy. There is an ongoing effort to identify patients at increased risk for developing neutropenic complications who would likely benefit from preemptive myeloid growth factor therapy. Appropriate use of myeloid growth factors is associated with reduced neutropenic complications, improved patient quality of life, and potentially improved disease control and long-term survival.
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