Prevention of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia by special honey intake

Med Oncol. 2006;23(4):549-52. doi: 10.1385/MO:23:4:549.


Febrile neutropenia is a serious side effect of chemotherapy. Colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) are used for primary and secondary treatment in patients with grade 4 neutropenia. The use of CSFs is expensive and accompanied by side effects. In the current study, Life-Mel Honey (LMH) was administered to prevent neutropenia and to reduce the need for CSFs in patients treated with chemotherapy. Thirty cancer patients receiving chemotherapy for primary or metastatic disease were included. All patients had grade 4 neutropenia and were treated with CSFs. The patients repeated the same chemotherapy schedule, with the addition of LMH for 5 d. Blood count was performed weekly. There was no recurrence of neutropenia after LMH intake and no need for treatment with CSFs in 12 (40%) of patients. Eighteen (60%) patients with LMH developed neutropenia grade 4 and were treated with CSFs (p=0.007). Hemoglobin levels remained >11 g/dL during LMH intake in 19 (64%) patients. Only three (10%) patients had thrombocytopenia. Eight (32%) patients reported improvement in quality of life. The use of LMH in patients who are at high risk of developing neutropenia as a result of chemotherapy decreases the risk of pancytopenia and the need for CSFs. LMH is inexpensive, has no side effects, and is easy to administer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Honey*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neutropenia / chemically induced*
  • Neutropenia / prevention & control*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors