Background/Aims: There exists few pediatric data on the safety and efficacy of prophylactic antibiotics during chemotherapy-induced agranulocytosis. Methods: We prospectively studied the incidence of infection-related fever in 38 children, aged 2-16 years, with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) over 121 chemotherapy treatment cycles. A prophylactic group (n = 18) was given either vancomycin/cefepime (400 mg/m2, q12 h/50 mg/kg, q12 h) or piperacillin/tazobactam (110 mg/kg, q12 h). Control patients (n = 20) received no preventive antibiotics. Results: The prophylactic group (59 treatment cycles) experienced fever less frequently than the control group (0.4 vs. 0.9 events; p < 0.001), had a longer interval between agranulocytosis and fever (6.4 vs. 3.8 days; p = 0.007), had a shorter duration of hospitalization (21.5 vs. 28.5 days; p < 0.001), and had a lower rate of lung infection (38.8 vs. 80.0%; p < 0.001). One patient taking vancomycin experienced a skin rash and 3 patients taking piperacillin/tazobactam had diarrhea; these side effects subsided after antibiotics were discontinued. Conclusions: In children with AML, prophylactic antibiotics during the period of chemotherapy-induced agranulocytosis can effectively reduce the incidence of infectious fever and can shorten the average length of hospital stay, improving treatment success and quality of life.

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