Efficacy and safety of linezolid in immunocompromised children with cancer

Pediatr Int. 2010 Oct;52(5):694-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2010.03097.x.


Background: The aim of this study was to determine the safety, tolerance and efficacy of linezolid for the treatment of infections from Gram-positive bacteria in immunocompromised children with cancer.

Methods: This was a prospective non-comparative unblinded study in the Hematology/Oncology Unit over a two-year period, administering linezolid as monotherapy in children with cancer.

Results: Seventeen children received linezolid (30 mg/kgr: 3 i.v. per day). Mean duration of linezolid administration was 12.2 days (range, 6-38 days), while the median age of the evaluable patients was 2.2 years (range, 6 months-11.2 years). Primary diagnosis was acute lymphoblastic leukemia (nine patients), brain tumor (three patients), multi-organ Langerhans cell histiocytosis (two patients), rhabdomyosarcoma, Burkitt's lymphoma and ovarian tumor (one patient each). All patients were in the midst of chemotherapy cycles. Ten out of 17 children had positive blood cultures (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, four patients; vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, three patients; penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, three patients), while seven of the 17 had fever and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus in stool cultures. All patients were considered clinically cured after the end of the linezolid regimen (100% efficacy). The main adverse events were thrombocytopenia grade 1-3 and anemia grade 2-3 (four and two patients, respectively). Chemotherapy-induced myelotoxicity (six patients) was not worsened during linezolid therapy. No bleeding episodes were presented. Self-limited diarrhea grade 1-2 was presented in four patients (mean duration 2 days). The total adverse event rate was 23.5%; however, there was no premature cessation of linezolid in any patient.

Conclusions: Linezolid may be another effective and safe therapy to treat infections from resistant Gram-positive bacteria in immunocompromised children, even in young ages.

MeSH terms

  • Acetamides / administration & dosage*
  • Acetamides / adverse effects
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Bacteremia / drug therapy*
  • Bacteremia / immunology
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Bacteremia / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / mortality
  • Greece
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host / drug effects*
  • Infant
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Linezolid
  • Male
  • Oxazolidinones / administration & dosage*
  • Oxazolidinones / adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Acetamides
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Oxazolidinones
  • Linezolid