Neutropenia: etiology and pathogenesis

Clin Cornerstone. 2006;8 Suppl 5:S5-11. doi: 10.1016/s1098-3597(06)80053-0.


Neutropenia is defined as an absolute neutrophil count <1500 cells/mm(3) and can be graded as mild (1000-1500 cells/mm(3)), moderate (500-1000 cells/mm(3)), or severe (<500 cells/mm(3)). Neutropenia can develop as a result of > or =1 pathologic mechanism, including decreased bone marrow production, the sequestering of neutrophils, and increased destruction of neutrophils in the peripheral blood. The clinical result is increased risk for infection. This risk is directly proportional to the severity and duration of neutropenia. Neutropenia is classified according to the etiology as congenital or acquired, with the latter further defined according to the etiology or pathology. Febrile neutropenia is associated with substantial morbidity and even mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Neutropenia / classification
  • Neutropenia / congenital
  • Neutropenia / etiology*
  • Neutropenia / therapy
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Risk Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents