• Selamawit Assefa Addis Ababa University
  • Tinsae Alemayehu Addis Ababa University
  • Workeabeba Abebe Addis Ababa University


Background: Cancer treatment is associated with variable degrees of myelosupression. Infection is often a life-threatening complication of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, and it is also considered an oncologic emergency. Febrile neutropenia is a common, costly and potentially fatal complication in oncology.

Objective: To assess factors affecting treatment outcome of cancer patients with chemotherapy induced febrile neutropenia.

Method: We conducted a review of records of pediatric patients hospitalized and treated for chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 and met the selection criteria.

Result: A total of 60 patients (36 males and 24 females) fulfilled the selection criteria. Twelve of them died while in hospital. The mean (SD) age of patients who died was 4.78 (±2.48) years and the mean (SD) hospital stay before death was 20.2 (±5.26) days. Ten children had hematologic malignancy and two had a solid tumor. Ten of the 12 patients had an absolute neutrophil count  of less than 100/mm3 (p=0.008, OR=20.3) and a platelet count of less than 50,000/mm3. Six of the 10 children (10%) had sepsis. Patients with profound neutropenia, platelet count of less than 50,000 and sepsis were more likely to die (P=0.048, OR=7).

Conclusion: The result of this study showed that absolute neutrophil count of less than 100/mm3, platelet count of less than 50,000/mm3 and a diagnosis of sepsis were factors affecting outcome patients with febrile neutropenia. Careful evaluation of these factors and assessing severity of patients’ clinical condition at time of admission can be useful for triaging children with febrile neutropenia.


Keywords: fever, neutropenia, cancer, absolute neutrophil count , febrile neutropenia, oncologic emergency


Author Biographies

Selamawit Assefa, Addis Ababa University

Department of Pediatric and Child Health

Tinsae Alemayehu, Addis Ababa University

Department of Pediatric and Child Health

Assistant Professor of pediatrics

Workeabeba Abebe, Addis Ababa University

Department of Pediatric and Child Health

Assistant Professor of pediatrics 


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