Low Infectious Morbidity after Intensive Chemotherapy and Autologous Peripheral Blood Progenitor Cell Transplantation in the Outpatient Setting for Women with Breast Cancer

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Autologous peripheral blood progenitor cell (PBPC) transplantation is increasingly employed in the outpatient setting, yet data on early complications following PBPC transplantation are scant. We evaluated 105 women with high-risk primary or metastatic breast cancer who were treated at a single institution during 1996-1997. The mean duration of neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count, <500 cells/mm3) was 7.5 days. Twenty-nine percent of women remained afebrile throughout the neutropenic period. Of the remaining 71%, most (64 of 75) had fever of unknown origin. Infections, mostly of mild severity, occurred in 34% of women; these infections included bacteremia due to gram-positive organisms, catheter site infection, cellulitis, pneumonia, oral candidiasis, herpes simplex virus infection, and vaginitis. Fifty percent of PBPC transplant recipients required hospital admission, usually because of persistent fever; the mean duration of hospitalization was 3 days. No deaths or serious adverse events occurred. Such reduced infectious morbidity may be a consequence of minimal oral and/or gastrointestinal mucositis associated with the conditioning regimen and broad-spectrum antimicrobial prophylaxis used for this patient population.

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