Infections and Cancer

  • Bernardo L. Rapoport
  • Ronald Feld


Infections are major causes of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients. The risk of infection is determined by the intensity and duration of immunosuppressive chemotherapy. In patients with hematological malignancies, the underlining malignancy itself may be associated with immune defects. In solid tumors, anatomical factors may predispose patients to infection. Other predisposing factors include intravenous devices, neutropenia due to underlying disease, mucosal integrity, treatment with corticosteroids, usage of monoclonal antibodies, splenic function, and treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Patients with neutropenic fever often have an established or an occult infection. Bacteremia is documented in approximately a quarter of these patients. In terms of risk assessment, the MSACC has pioneered work in this field and developed an index that predicts for high risk or low risk of medical complications.

The index consists of seven independent prognostic factors with an assigned integer value. The index consists of the sum of these integers. A MASCC risk index equal or greater than 21 identifies low-risk patients with a positive predictive value of 91% (specificity 68% and sensitivity 71%). Patients with low risk may be managed in the outpatient setting.


Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Febrile Neutropenia Herpes Zoster Absolute Neutrophil Count Invasive Aspergillosis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyThe Medical Oncology Centre of RosebankJohannesburgSouth Africa

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