Background: Infection is a major complication in pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia during chemotherapy. In this study, the infection characteristics were determined and risk factors analyzed based on the Taiwan Pediatric Oncology Group (TPOG) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) protocol. Procedure: We retrospectively reviewed fever events during chemotherapy in 252 patients treated during two consecutive clinical trials at a single institution between 1997 and 2012. Patients were classified as standard, high, and very high risk by treatment regimen according to the TPOG definitions. We analyzed the characteristics and risk factors for infection. Results: Fever occurred in 219 patients (86.9%) with a mean of 2.74 episodes per person. The fever events comprised 64% febrile neutropenia, 39% clinically documented infections, and 44% microbiologically documented infections. The microbiologically documented infections were mostly noted during the induction phase and increased in very high risk patients (89 vs. 24% and 46% in standard-risk and high-risk patients, respectively). Younger age and higher risk (high-risk and very high risk groups) were risk factors for fever and microbiologic and bloodstream infections. Female gender and obesity were additive risk factors for urinary tract infection (odds ratios = 3.52 and 3.24, P < 0.001 and P = 0.004, respectively). Conclusions: Infections developed primarily during the induction phase, for which younger age and higher risk by treatment regimen were risk factors. Female gender and obesity were additive risk factors for urinary tract infection.
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