Procalcitonin as a marker of infection in febrile neutropenia: A systematic review


Aim: Management of febrile neutropenia is challenged by lacking microbiological and clinical documentation of infection. Procalcitonin is emerging as a new promising biomarker of infection. We aimed to undertake a systematic review evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of procalcitonin as a marker of infection in febrile neutropenia. Methods: We performed a systematic re- view of the literature using the databases MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library including a search of the grey literature (e.g. unpublished data, web sides of relevant societies). The methodological quality was assessed using predefined criteria. The relevant data were extracted and analyzed by two authors. Results: The literature search yielded a total of 193 studies of which nine were eligible for inclusion. There was a great variation in the quality of the methodological design. A notable heterogeneity exists regarding the studied populations and the definition of the reference standards. Among the nine included studies the sensitivity ranged from 42% to 72% and the specificity ranged from 64% - 89% at a cut off value ranging from 0.5 - 0.8 ng/ml. The studied endpoint was either microbiologically or clinically documented infection. Four studies found procalcitonin superior to Creactive protein in discriminating infection from the various other causes of fever. Conclusion: Procalcitonin appears to be a promising biomarker and might add new diagnostic information in the management of febrile neutropenia.

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Boysen, A., Jensen, B., Poulsen, L., Jensen, P. and Ladefoged, S. (2013) Procalcitonin as a marker of infection in febrile neutropenia: A systematic review. Modern Chemotherapy, 2, 8-14. doi: 10.4236/mc.2013.21002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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