Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Uwe Zangemeister-Wittke
  • Hans-Uwe Simon
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_3940-2


Myelosuppression (acute suppression of the bone marrow) is the most common adverse side effect of cytotoxic anticancer therapy. It describes the decrease in the production of blood cells in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces three types of blood cells: red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) (which include lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes). Since these cell types serve distinct and important functions, myelosuppression can be associated with moderate to severe life-threatening complications, such as anemia, increased risk of infection, and bleeding.


The bone marrow contains stem cellsable to reproduce and differentiate into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, depending on the body’s need for replacing these cell pools. Because the proliferating precursor cells produced by stem cells are almost always in mitosis and reproduce rapidly, they are highly susceptible to cytotoxic...


Febrile Neutropenia Granulocyte Colony Stimulate Factor Cytotoxic Therapy Immature Neutrophil Normal Cell Type 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland