Antibacterial prophylaxis after chemotherapy for solid tumours and lymphomas

Michael Cullen, Neil Steven, Lucinda Billingham, Claire Gaunt, M Hastings, P Simmonds, N Stuart, Daniel Rea, M Bower, Indy Fernando, R Huddart, S Gollins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

323 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The role of prophylactic antibacterial agents after chemotherapy remains controversial. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients who were receiving cyclic chemotherapy for solid tumors or lymphoma and who were at risk for temporary, severe neutropenia (fewer than 500 neutrophils per cubic millimeter). Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 500 mg of levofloxacin once daily or matching placebo for seven days during the expected neutropenic period. The primary outcome was the incidence of clinically documented febrile episodes (temperature of more than 38 degreesC) attributed to infection. Secondary outcomes included the incidence of all probable infections, severe infections, and hospitalization but did not include a systematic evaluation of antibacterial resistance. RESULTS: A total of 1565 patients underwent randomization (784 to placebo and 781 to levofloxacin). The tumors included breast cancer (35.4 percent), lung cancer (22.5 percent), testicular cancer (14.4 percent), and lymphoma (12.8 percent). During the first cycle of chemotherapy, 3.5 percent of patients in the levofloxacin group had at least one febrile episode, as compared with 7.9 percent in the placebo group (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-998
Number of pages11
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2005


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