To determine whether prophylactic hematopoietic colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) used in children with cancer reduce the rate of febrile neutropenia, hospitalization duration, documented infection rate, parenteral antibiotic duration, amphotericin B use, or infection-related mortality.
We included studies in this meta-analysis if their populations consisted of children, if there was randomization between CSFs and placebo or no therapy, if CSFs were administered prophylactically (before neutropenia or febrile neutropenia), and if chemotherapy treatments preceding CSFs and placebo or no therapy were identical. From 971 reviewed study articles, 16 were included.
The mean rate of febrile neutropenia in the control arms was 57% (range, 39% to 100%). Using a random effects model, CSFs were associated with a reduction in febrile neutropenia, with a rate ratio of 0.80 (95% CI, 0.67 to 0.95; P = .01), and a decrease in hospitalization length, with a weighted mean difference of −1.9 days (95% CI, −2.7 to −1.1 days; P < .00001). CSF use was also associated with reduction in documented infections (rate ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.62 to 0.97; P = .02) and reduction in amphotericin B use (rate ratio, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.87; P = .02). There was no difference in duration of parenteral antibiotic therapy (weighted mean difference, −4.3; 95% CI, −10.6 to 2.0 days; P = .2) or infection-related mortality (rate ratio, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.34 to 3.06; P = .97).
CSFs were associated with a 20% reduction in febrile neutropenia and shorter duration of hospitalization; however, CSFs did not reduce infection-related mortality.