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JAMA. 2018 Sep 11;320(10):995-1004. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.12512.

Effect of Levofloxacin Prophylaxis on Bacteremia in Children With Acute Leukemia or Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

Author information

The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.
University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children's Hospital, San Francisco.
Children's Oncology Group, Monrovia, California.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
City of Hope, Duarte, California.
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Egleston, Atlanta, Georgia.
McMaster Children's Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Child Health Evaluation Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Bacteremia causes considerable morbidity among children with acute leukemia and those undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). There are limited data on the effect of antibiotic prophylaxis in children.


To determine the efficacy and risks of levofloxacin prophylaxis in children receiving intensive chemotherapy for acute leukemia or undergoing HSCT.

Design, Setting, and Participants:

In this multicenter, open-label, randomized trial, patients (6 months-21 years) receiving intensive chemotherapy were enrolled (September 2011-April 2016) in 2 separate groups-acute leukemia, consisting of acute myeloid leukemia or relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and HSCT recipients-at 76 centers in the United States and Canada, with follow-up completed September 2017.


Patients with acute leukemia were randomized to receive levofloxacin prophylaxis for 2 consecutive cycles of chemotherapy (n = 100) or no prophylaxis (n = 100). Those undergoing HSCT were randomized to receive levofloxacin prophylaxis during 1 HSCT procedure (n = 210) or no prophylaxis (n = 214).

Main Outcomes and Measures:

The primary outcome was the occurrence of bacteremia during 2 chemotherapy cycles (acute leukemia) or 1 transplant procedure (HSCT). Secondary outcomes included fever and neutropenia, severe infection, invasive fungal disease, Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, and musculoskeletal toxic effects.


A total of 624 patients, 200 with acute leukemia (median [interquartile range {IQR}] age, 11 years [6-15 years]; 46% female) and 424 undergoing HSCT (median [IQR] age, 7 years [3-14]; 38% female), were enrolled. Among 195 patients with acute leukemia, the likelihood of bacteremia was significantly lower in the levofloxacin prophylaxis group than in the control group (21.9% vs 43.4%; risk difference, 21.6%; 95% CI, 8.8%-34.4%, P = .001), whereas among 418 patients undergoing HSCT, the risk of bacteremia was not significantly lower in the levofloxacin prophylaxis group (11.0% vs 17.3%; risk difference, 6.3%; 95% CI, 0.3%-13.0%; P = .06). Fever and neutropenia were less common in the levofloxacin group (71.2% vs 82.1%; risk difference, 10.8%; 95% CI, 4.2%-17.5%; P = .002). There were no significant differences in severe infection (3.6% vs 5.9%; risk difference, 2.3%; 95% CI, -1.1% to 5.6%; P = .20), invasive fungal disease (2.9% vs 2.0%; risk difference, -1.0%; 95% CI, -3.4% to 1.5%, P = .41), C difficile-associated diarrhea (2.3% vs 5.2%; risk difference, 2.9%; 95% CI, -0.1% to 5.9%; P = .07), or musculoskeletal toxic effects at 2 months (11.4% vs 16.3%; risk difference, 4.8%; 95% CI, -1.6% to 11.2%; P = .15) or at 12 months (10.1% vs 14.4%; risk difference, 4.3%; 95% CI, -3.4% to 12.0%; P = .28) between the levofloxacin and control groups.

Conclusions and Relevance:

Among children with acute leukemia receiving intensive chemotherapy, receipt of levofloxacin prophylaxis compared with no prophylaxis resulted in a significant reduction in bacteremia. However, there was no significant reduction in bacteremia for levofloxacin prophylaxis among children undergoing HSCT.

[Available on 2019-03-11]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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