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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 56

of 'Overview of the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and adolescents'

Colony stimulating factors for prevention of myelosupressive therapy induced febrile neutropenia in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Sasse EC, Sasse AD, Brandalise S, Clark OA, Richards S
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005;
BACKGROUND: Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in childhood and febrile neutropenia is a potentially life-threatening side effect of its treatment. Current treatment consists of supportive care plus antibiotics. Clinical trials have attempted to evaluate the use of colony-stimulating factors (CSF) as additional therapy to prevent febrile neutropenia in children with ALL. The individual trials do not show whether there is significant benefit or not. Systematic review provides the most reliable assessment and the best recommendations for practice.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the addition of G-CSF or GM-CSF to myelosuppressive chemotherapy in children with ALL, in an effort to prevent the development of febrile neutropenia. Evaluation of number of febrile neutropenia episodes, length to neutrophil count recovery, incidence and length of hospitalisation, number of infectious disease episodes, incidence and length of treatment delays, side effects (flu-like syndrome, bone pain and allergic reaction), relapse and overall mortality (death).
SEARCH STRATEGY: The search covered the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CANCERLIT, LILACS, and SciElo. We manually searched records of conference proceedings of ASCO and ASH from 1985 to 2003 as well as databases of ongoing trials. We consulted experts and scanned references from the relevant articles.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We looked for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing CSF with placebo or no treatment as primary or secondary prophylaxis to prevent febrile neutropenia in children with ALL.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently selected, critically appraised studies and extracted relevant data. The end points of interest were:* Primary end points: number of febrile neutropenia episodes and overall mortality (death) * Secondary end points: time to neutrophil count recovery, incidence and length of hospitalisation, number of infectious diseases episodes, incidence and length of treatment delays, side effects (flu-like syndrome, bone pain and allergic reaction) and relapse. We conducted a meta-analysis of these end points and expressed the results as Peto odds ratios. For continuous outcomes we calculated a weighted mean difference and a standardised mean difference. For count data, meta-analysis of the logarithms of the rate ratios using generic inverse variance was employed.
MAIN RESULTS: We scanned more than 5500 citations and included six studies with a total of 332 participants in the analysis. There were insufficient data to assess the effect on survival. The use of CSF significantly reduced the number of episodes of febrile neutropenia episodes (Rate Ratio = 0.63; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.46 to 0.85; p =0.003, with substantial heterogeneity), the length of hospitalisation (weighted mean difference (WMD) = -1.58; 95% CI -3.00 to -0.15; p = 0.03), and number of infectious diseases episodes (Rate Ratio=0.44; 95%CI 0.24 to 0.80; p=0.002). In spite of these results, CSF did not influence the length of episodes of neutropenia (WMD = -1.11; 95% CI -3.55 to 1.32; p = 0.4) or delays in chemotherapy courses (Rate Ratio=0.77; 95%CI 0.49 to 1,23; p=0.28) .
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Children with ALL treated with CSF benefit from shorter hospitalisation and fewer infections. However, there was no evidence for a shortened duration of neutropenia nor fewer treatment delays, and no useful information about survival. The role of CSF regarding febrile neutropenia episodes is still uncertain. Although current data shows statistical benefit for CSF use, substantial heterogeneity between included trials does not allow this conclusion.
Evidence Based Medicine, Onco-Evidências, Av. Prof. Atílio Martini, 834 sl.14, Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 13083-830. esasse@terra.com.br