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Prophylactic Granulocyte Transfusions During Chemotherapy of Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukemia

DREW J. WINSTON, M.D.; WINSTON G. HO, M.D.; and ROBERT PETER GALE, M.D., Ph.D.
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Grant support: by grants HB-62971 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, CA-23175 and CA-15688 from the National Cancer Institute, and AI-15332 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Gale is a scholar of the Leukemia Society of America.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Drew J. Winston, M.D.; Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences; Los Angeles, CA 90024.


Los Angeles, California


© 1981 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1981;94(5):616-622. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-94-5-616
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Forty-six noninfected patients undergoing induction chemotherapy for acute nonlymphocytic leukemia were randomized to receive (25 patients) or not to receive (21 control patients) prophylactic granulocyte transfusions when their granulocyte count fell below 0.5 x 109/L. Septicemia was less frequent in the patients who received transfusions (two in 25 patients) than in the control patients (five in 21 patients), but this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.28). Moreover, pneumonia was more frequent among the transfused patients (12 in 25 patients versus two in 21 patients, p = 0.01). There were no significant differences between the two groups in the frequency of other documented infections, the achievement or duration of remission, or survival. Recipients of prophylactic granulocyte transfusions had a higher prevalence of cytomegalovirus infections (13 in 21 patients versus five in 19 patients, p = 0.03). These results suggest that prophylactic granulocyte transfusions have no statistically significant effect on the frequency of septicemia or other infections, do not enhance remission rates or survival, and are associated with an increased risk for pulmonary complications and cytomegalovirus infections.

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