Reducing infectious morbidity is an important goal to improve childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) survival. To explore the impact of chemotherapy reduction on infectious morbidity, we compared outpatient and inpatient infectious morbidity of reduced versus intensive (conventional) chemotherapy. One hundred and seventy-one children newly diagnosed with ALL between 2004 and 2007 and treated according to the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group ALL 10 protocol were prospectively followed during the 2-year treatment course. Stratified by minimal residual disease, 54 patients received reduced (standard risk; SR) and 117 patients received intensive (medium risk; MR) intensification/maintenance treatment. SR outpatients had a median of 1 febrile episode versus 4 in MR outpatients (P=0·002). SR patients had fewer hospitalizations for fever. They were admitted a median of 0 times, with a median of 0days of hospitalization, median 0days of fever, median 0 times chemotherapy interruption and median 0 times intravenous antibiotics. MR patients were admitted for fever median 2 times (P<0·001) with 10days of hospitalization (P<0·001), 2days of fever (P<0·001), one chemotherapy interruption (P<0·001) and two intravenous antibiotics administration (P<0·001). These data indicate that reduced intensification/maintenance compared to conventional intensive intensification/maintenance chemotherapy for good risk childhood ALL resulted in major decrease of infectious morbidity.

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Keywords Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Chemotherapy, Child, Infection, Toxicity, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, adolescent, adult, antibiotic agent, antileukemic agent, article, asparaginase macrogol, bacteremia, cancer chemotherapy, cancer combination chemotherapy, child, childhood leukemia, ciprofloxacin, controlled study, cotrimoxazole, cyclophosphamide, cytarabine, dexamethasone, doxorubicin, drug dose reduction, drug megadose, female, fever, follow up, hospital admission, hospital patient, hospitalization, human, immunoglobulin, immunoglobulin deficiency, infection, itraconazole, length of stay, maintenance therapy, major clinical study, male, mercaptopurine, methotrexate, minimal residual disease, outpatient, pneumocystosis, prednisolone, priority journal, prospective study, risk assessment, tioguanine, treatment duration, vincristine
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Tilburg, C.M., Sanders, E.A., Nibbelke, E.E., Pieters, R., Revesz, T., Westers, P., … Bierings, M.. (2011). Impact of reduced chemotherapy treatment for good risk childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on infectious morbidity. British Journal of Haematology, 152(4), 433–440. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2010.08463.x