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Br J Haematol. 2000 Dec;111(4):1093-102.

Procalcitonin in paediatric cancer patients: its diagnostic relevance is superior to that of C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, interleukin 8, soluble interleukin 2 receptor and soluble tumour necrosis factor receptor II.

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Department of Paediatric Haematology/Oncology, University of Bonn, Germany.


Sensitive parameters of inflammation are rare in neutropenic cancer patients. In this study, procalcitonin (PCT), C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-8, the soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R) and the soluble tumour necrosis factor receptor II (sTNFRII) were evaluated for their diagnostic relevance in febrile episodes of cancer patients. Plasma or serum levels of these parameters were determined in neutropenic children with febrile episodes (n = 122) classified according to both the kind of infection [60 cases of fever of unknown origin (FUO), 28 cases of localized infection, 13 cases of pneumonia, 20 cases of bacteraemia, one case of fungaemia] and the World Health Organization (WHO) score of chemotherapy-induced mucositis. At baseline and during the febrile episodes, the highest levels of all parameters were observed in cases of gram-negative bacteraemia. However, in FUO and localized infections, low or only slightly elevated median levels of all parameters were documented. The degree of chemotherapy-induced mucositis did not influence the value of any parameter. In comparison with the other inflammatory parameters, PCT (optimum cut-off level 0.5 microg/l) was a more sensitive and more specific parameter in the diagnosis of high-risk (gram-negative bacteraemia) and low-risk (FUO) episodes, as well as in the sequential assessment of all febrile neutropenic episodes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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