Medical Oncology

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 161–166 | Cite as

Cefepime monotherapy as an empirical initial treatment of patients with febrile neutropenia

  • J. MontalarEmail author
  • A. Segura
  • C. Bosch
  • A. Galan
  • O. Juan
  • C. Molins
  • V. Giner
  • J. Aparicio
Original Article


Currently, monotherapy is considered a valid alternative to the combination antibiotic treatments used for initial, empirical management of febrile neutropenia. The advent of new cephalosporins warrants assessment. The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate the effectiveness of cefepime monotherapy in the treatment of cancer patients with febrile granulocytopenia (< 1000 leukocytes/µL and/or<500 neutrophils/µL).

A prospective, multicenter, nonrandomized trial was conducted. Initial treatment consisted of iv cefepime, 2 g every 8 h. If the patient was still febrile after 72 h, amikacin, vancomycin/teicoplanin, and amphotericin B were added sequentially. Response was evaluated according to EORTC criteria.

One hundred twenty episodes were analyzed in 81 males and 39 females (median age, 52 yr; range, 15–83). The median leukocyte count at the time of diagnosis was 781 µL−1 (range, 100–2600) and the median neutrophil count was 173 µL−1 (range 0–500). The median duration of neutropenia (<1000 neutrophils/µL) was 4.8 d (range, 3–20). Fifty-two episodes (44%) were confirmed microbiologically (42 presented as bacteremia), 31 with Gram-positive bacteria and 21 with Gram-negative bacteria, 47 (39.3%) were confirmed clinically, 16 (13.3%) were considered as probable infections, and 5 (4.2%) as doubtful infections. Protocol success was achieved in 110 episodes (91.7%), 8 (6.6%) were treatment failures, and 2 (1.7%) were not evaluable. Ninety-nine episodes (83.3%) were controlled with cefepime monotherapy, with 19 other episodes requiring additional antibiotics: amikacin in 7 (5.8%), amikacin + vancomycin/teicoplanin in 12 (10.1%). Three patients (2,5%) died during an episode of neutropenic fever.

Cefepime is effective as an initial, empirical treatment of febrile neutropenia. The early addition of amikacin and/or vancomycin resolves most of the monotherapy failures, which seem somewhat lower than with other monotherapies.

Key Words

Cefepime febrile neutropenia monotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Montalar
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Segura
    • 1
  • C. Bosch
    • 2
  • A. Galan
    • 3
  • O. Juan
    • 4
  • C. Molins
    • 2
  • V. Giner
    • 3
  • J. Aparicio
    • 1
  1. 1.Servicio de Oncología MédicaHospital Universitario La FeValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Medical Oncology UnitHospital Dr. Peset AleixandreValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Medical Oncology UnitHospital de SaguntoValenciaSpain
  4. 4.Medical Oncology UnitHospital Arnau de VilanovaValenciaSpain

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