Prophylactic and interventional granulocyte transfusions in patients with haematological malignancies and life-threatening infections during neutropenia


Patients with haematological malignancies and prolonged periods of neutropenia after chemotherapy are at high risk for severe bacterial and fungal infections. Those infections have long time been considered as a contraindication for subsequent haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). We conducted a prospective, non-randomized study of granulocyte transfusions (GTX) to control acute life-threatening infections (44 episodes) and to prevent recurrence of severe fungal infections during HCT or intensive chemotherapy (23 episodes). GTX achieved control in 82% (36/44) of acute life-threatening infections. No single reactivation of a previous infection occurred under prophylactic GTX (0/23). Median survival was 170 days in the interventional group and 185 days in the prophylactic group; death in both patient groups was mainly due to underlying progressive malignant disease. We conclude that under GTX, the infection-related mortality even in high-risk patients is low. Due to a secondary prophylaxis with GTX, haematopoietic allografts can be safely given to patients with previous fungal infections.

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This work was supported by Knochenmarktransplantation/Gentherapie Frankfurt (KGF) e.V. The authors thank the haematology nursing staff for their excellent patient care.

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Correspondence to Sabine Mousset.

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Mousset, S., Hermann, S., Klein, S.A. et al. Prophylactic and interventional granulocyte transfusions in patients with haematological malignancies and life-threatening infections during neutropenia. Ann Hematol 84, 734–741 (2005).

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  • Granulocyte transfusion
  • Neutropenia
  • Stem cell transplantation
  • Fungal infection
  • Cellular therapies