Purpose: Clinical practice adherence to current guidelines that recommend primary prophylaxis (PP) with granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSFs) for patients at high (≥20 %) overall risk of febrile neutropenia (FN) was evaluated.
Methods: Adult patients with breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), or ovarian cancer were enrolled if myelotoxic chemotherapy was planned, and they had an investigator-assessed overall FN risk ≥20 %. The primary outcome was FN incidence.
Results: In total, 1,347 patients were analysed (breast cancer, n = 829; NSCLC, n = 224; SCLC, n = 137; ovarian cancer, n = 157). Patients with breast cancer exhibited fewer individual FN risk factors than patients with other cancers and were far more likely to have received a high-FN-risk chemotherapy regimen. However, a substantial proportion of all patients (45-80 % across tumour types) did not receive G-CSF PP in alignment with investigator risk assessment and guideline recommendations. FN occurred in 127 patients overall (9 %, 95% confidence interval (CI) 8-11 %), and incidence was higher in SCLC (15 %) than other tumour types (8 % in ovarian and NSCLC, 9 % in breast cancer). A post hoc analysis of G-CSF use indicated that G-CSF prophylaxis was not given within the recommended timeframe after chemotherapy (within 1-3 days) or was not continued across all cycles in 39 % of patients.
Conclusions: FN risk assessment was predominantly based on clinical judgement and individual risk factors, and guidelines regarding G-CSF PP for patients at high FN risk were not consistently followed. Improved education of physicians may enable more fully informed neutropenia management in patients with solid tumours.