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Transfus Med. 2010 Jun;20(3):160-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3148.2009.00988.x. Epub 2010 Jan 12.

The value and practicality of granulocyte transfusion: a single oncology centre experience.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


There is an increased risk of infection in patients with neutropaenia, especially in those with neutrophil counts of less than 0.5 x 10(9)/L, and neutropaenia-associated infection remains a limiting factor in treating malignancy especially of haematopoietic origin. Transfusing donor neutrophils is a logical approach to these problems, but granulocyte transfusion (GTx), a practice first advocated in the 1960s, is underused and although now enjoying resurgence, remains controversial. The aim of this study was to determine the practical aspects of GTx and clinical responses in patients receiving them. This is an observational retrospective review of GTx in patients undergoing therapy for predominantly haematological malignancies. We reviewed blood bank records and identified patients who received therapeutic granulocytes procured by leukapheresis and linked these recipients with their granulocyte donors. We determined the reasons for GTx and their clinical and relevant haematological responses to the transfusions. We identified 22 patients receiving at least three continuous days of GTx and who had adequate clinical and haematological data. Most donors were relatives and ABO matched with their respective recipients. Mean age of the patients was 28.8 years. Severe aplastic anaemia was the most common diagnosis, occurring in 9 patients (40.9%), followed by acute myeloid leukaemia in 6 (27.3%). Disseminated fungal infection was the most common reason for GTx, occurring in 16 patients (73%), followed by febrile neutropaenia in 7 patients. Fifteen (68.2%) patients showed clinical improvement. This uncontrolled retrospective observational study provides some evidence that procurement and use of GTx is safe for both donors and recipients and is probably an effective supportive therapy for patients with febrile neutropaenia.

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