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GMS Curr Top Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012;11:Doc01. doi: 10.3205/cto000083. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Supportive therapy in medical therapy of head and neck tumors.

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Klinik für Innere Medizin I, Westpfalz-Klinikum, Kaiserslautern, Germany.


Fever during neutropenia may be a symptom of severe life threatening infection, which must be treated immediately with antibiotics. If signs of infection persist, therapy must be modified. Diagnostic measures should not delay treatment. If the risk of febrile neutropenia after chemotherapy is ≥20%, then prophylactic therapy with G-CSF is standard of care. After protocols with a risk of febrile neutropenia of 10-20%, G-CSF is necessary, in patients older than 65 years or with severe comorbidity, open wounds, reduced general condition. Anemia in cancer patients must be diagnosed carefully, even preoperatively. Transfusions of red blood cells are indicated in Hb levels below 7-8 g/dl. Erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA) are recommended after chemotherapy only when hemoglobin levels are below 11 g/dl. The Hb-level must not be increased above 12 g/dl. Anemia with functional iron deficiency (transferrin saturation <20%) should be treated with intravenous iron, as oral iron is ineffective being not absorbed. Nausea or emesis following chemotherapy can be classified as minimal, low, moderate and high. The antiemetic prophylaxis should be escalated accordingly. In chemotherapy with low emetogenic potential steroids are sufficient, in the moderate level 5-HT3 receptor antagonists (setrons) are added, and in the highest level Aprepitant as third drug.


G-CSF; anemia; antibiotic therapy; diarrhea; documented infection; erythropoiesis stimulating agents; febrile neutropenia; nausea and emesis after chemotherapy; neutropenia

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