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Eur J Cancer. 2006 May;42(7):909-16. Epub 2006 Mar 6.

The role of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) in paediatric oncology patients with febrile neutropenia.

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  • 1Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center (AMC), F8-245 Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Children with cancer often have fever during chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, but only some develop serious infectious complications. Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) deficiency might increase infection susceptibility in these children. MBL genotype and phenotype were prospectively determined in 110 paediatric oncology patients. During febrile neutropenia, MBL concentrations were measured longitudinally in time. MBL genotype and phenotype were correlated to clinical and laboratory parameters. Structural exon-1 MBL2 mutations and the LX promoter polymorphism lead to deficient MBL concentrations. The capacity to increase MBL concentrations during febrile neutropenia was associated with MBL2 genotype. Infectious parameters did not differ between MBL-deficient and MBL-sufficient neutropenic children (n = 66). In contrast, MBL-sufficient patients had a greater risk of Intensive Care admittance (Relative Risk 1.6, 95% Confidence Interval 1.3-2.0, P = 0.04). MBL-deficient neutropenic children did not have more severe infections. However, most patients (61%) were severely neutropenic (<100 cells/microL), compromising the opsonophagocytic effector function of MBL. MBL substitution might still be beneficial in patients with phagocytic activity.

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