Chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN) is one of the most common side effects seen in cancer patients. As an adverse event, it is deemed undesirable since it often constitutes a dose-limiting toxicity for cytotoxic agents leading to treatment delays and/or dose reductions. It is also associated with a financial cost component from diagnostic work-up and treatment of patients with chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia (CIFN). Neutropenia is commonly accompanied by a decrease in other hematopoietic lineages (anemia and/or thrombocytopenia). Dosing of chemotherapeutic agents is based on the severity of adverse effects seen. Depending on the degree of neutropenia, chemotherapeutic agents may be put on hold until count recovery and growth factor support might be added to allow for dosing as scheduled. However, neutropenia appears to be more than just an adverse event. While CIFN by itself constitutes an adverse event, the appearance of just CIN is not necessarily a marker of poor outcome. In fact, it rather appears to be a surrogate marker of response and/or survival in patients treated with cytotoxic regimens. Here we present evidence in different tumor types treated with different regimens on the role CIN plays as a marker for improved outcomes. If CIN is a surrogate prognostic and/or potentially predictive marker of response, chemotherapy doses may need to be escalated to achieve neutropenia. In addition, instead of reducing treatment doses for safety concerns, the addition of growth factor support and alternative dosing schemes may be strategies to consider.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)