Bloodstream infections in neutropenic cancer patients: A practical update

Giulia Gustinetti, Malgorzata Mikulska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


abstract: Bloodstream infections (BSI) are among the most frequent complications in neutropenic cancer patients and, if caused by Gram-negative rods, are associated with high mortality. Thus, fever during neutropenia warrants prompt empirical antibiotic therapy which should be active against the most frequent Gram-negatives. In the last decade, there has been a worldwide increase in multidrug resistant (MDR) strains. In these cases, the traditional choices such as oral therapy, ceftazidime, cefepime, piperacillin-tazobactam, or even carbapenems, might be ineffective. Therefore novel de-escalation approach has been proposed for patients who are at high risk for infections due to MDR bacteria. It consists of starting antibiotics which cover the most probable resistant strain but it is narrowed down after 72 hours if no MDR pathogen is isolated. With increasing bacterial resistance, the benefit of fluoroquinolone prophylaxis during prolonged neutropenia remains to be confirmed. Antibiotic stewardship and infection control programs are mandatory in every cancer center.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-297
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2 2016


  • bloodstream infections
  • de-escalation
  • empirical treatment
  • febrile neutropenia
  • MDR bacteria
  • outpatient management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology
  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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