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PURPOSE: Patients treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy are at risk of neutropenia, neutropenic fever and neutropenic sepsis. We hypothesised that pre-existing neutrophil function dysfunction may increase susceptibility to neutropenic fever in paediatric patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy. METHODS: Prospective cohort study recruited patients at Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom. We measured neutrophil phagocytic function using a validated flow cytometric whole blood phagocytosis assay in paediatric patients (n = 16) with oncological disease before and after chemotherapy in a prospective cohort study. We recruited healthy children as a control comparator (n = 10). RESULTS: We found significantly decreased phagocytic function in oncology patients compared to healthy participants. In five patients who developed neutropenic fever, we observed increased pre-dose neutrophil respiratory burst. CONCLUSION: With further validation, measurement of neutrophil function could potentially be used to personalise appropriate prophylactic antimicrobial administration for patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Transl Oncol

Publication Date





2121 - 2125


Biomarker, Cytotoxic chemotherapy, Flow cytometry, Neutrophils, Paediatric cancer, Phagocytosis, Adolescent, Biomarkers, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Neoplasms, Neutrophils, Phagocytosis, Prospective Studies