Summary Chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN) is a common and serious toxicity of cancer chemotherapy. It can lead to febrile neutropenia (FN), which often requires patients to be hospitalised for intravenous antibiotic therapy. Chemotherapy dose reductions or delays, which can compromise clinical outcomes, may also result from CIN and FN. Prophylactic use of colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) reduces the incidence, duration, and severity of FN, and there is evidence that it helps maintain scheduled chemotherapy dose delivery. In 2006, three organisations published new or updated guidelines for the use of CSFs in cancer treatment. Each recommends that FN risk be determined individually for each patient, taking into account patient- and disease-specific risk factors, the chemotherapy regimen, and treatment intent. Particular consideration should be given to patients who are 65 years old, receiving chemotherapy regimens associated with 20% risk of FN, receiving dose-dense chemotherapy, and receiving treatment that is adjuvant, potentially curative, or intended to prolong survival. Accordingly, oncology nurses can play an important role in assessing and identifying patients at risk for FN before every chemotherapy cycle. There is evidence that, regardless of practice type or size, implementing guidelines for CSF use within a multidisciplinary team improves patient outcomes.
- Chemotherapy-induced neutropenia
- Febrile neutropenia
- Colony-stimulating factors
- Granulocyte colony-stimulating factors
- Clinical guidelines