BACKGROUND: Although neutropenic fever is frequently observed during chemotherapy, only a minor proportion is caused by blood stream infections (BSI). This study investigated measurements of neutrophil chemotaxis as risk markers for BSI in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
METHODS: The chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL8 were measured weekly in 106 children with ALL during induction treatment. Information regarding BSI episodes was collected from the patients' medical records.
RESULTS: During induction treatment, 102 (96%) patients developed profound neutropenia and 27 (25%) were diagnosed with BSI, debuting on median day 12 (range: 4-29). Patients developing BSI had increased levels of CXCL1 on days 8 and 15 as well as increased CXCL8 on days 8, 15, 22, and 29 compared to patients without BSI (all p < 0.05). Patients with BSI < day 12 exhibited increased CXCL1 and CXCL8 levels as early as day 8 (81 vs. 4 pg/mL, p = 0.031 and 35 vs. 10 pg/mL, p < 0.0001, respectively), while CXCL1 and CXCL8 were increased on day 15 (215 vs. 57 pg/mL, p = 0.022 and 68 vs. 17 pg/mL, p = 0.0002) and after (all p < 0.01) in patients with BSI ≥ day 12.
CONCLUSION: The markers of neutrophil chemotaxis, CXCL1, and CXCL8 may help to identify patients at increased risk of BSI during chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.