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. 2019 Apr;27(4):1459-1469.
doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4481-x. Epub 2018 Oct 29.

G-CSF Guideline Adherence in Germany, an Update With a Retrospective and Representative Sample Survey

Free PMC article

G-CSF Guideline Adherence in Germany, an Update With a Retrospective and Representative Sample Survey

Hartmut Link et al. Support Care Cancer. .
Free PMC article


Background: Current guidelines (GL) recommend neutropenia prophylaxis with G-CSF after chemotherapy (CTX) for patients with high (≥ 20%), or, if additional risk factors are present, intermediate (≥ 10-20%) risk of febrile neutropenia. The first sample survey in 2012 (NP1) showed lack of GL adherence. The aim of this second sample survey was to evaluate if GL adherence and implementation have improved.

Methods: The sample size represented 1.0% of the incidences of lung and 1.1% of breast cancer in Germany in 2010. Data of patients with a febrile neutropenia (FN) risk ≥ 10% who had received at least 2 cycles of chemotherapy between October 2014 and September 2015 was surveyed retrospectively.

Results: Data from 573 lung cancer (LC) and 801 breast cancer (BC) patients was collected from 109 hospitals and 83 oncology practices with 222 physicians participating. Compared with the NP1 survey, GL adherence increased in LC and FN high-risk (HR) chemotherapy from 15.4 to 47.8% (p < 0.001), and in FN intermediate-risk (IR) chemotherapy from 38.8 to 44.3% (p = 0.003). In BC and FN-HR chemotherapy, GL adherence was unchanged: 85.6% vs. 85.1% (p = 0.73) but increased in FN-IR from 49.3 to 57.8% (p < 0.001). In all IR CTX cycles, there are also no significant differences in GL adherence between the first (51.3%) and subsequent cycles (51.1%; p = 0.948). In LC patients treated in certified or comprehensive cancer centers, the GL adherence in FN-HR chemotherapy was 53.0% vs. 44.9% in other centers (p = 0.295); in FN-IR chemotherapy, it was 45.1% vs. 43.8% (p = 0.750). In BC with FN-HR chemotherapy, GL adherence in certified or comprehensive centers was 85.4% vs. 84.7% in other institutions (p = 0.869); in FN-IR chemotherapy, it was 60.2% vs. 55.0% (p = 0.139). GL adherence in FN-HR chemotherapy and in FN-IR chemotherapy differed between pulmonologists and hematologist-oncologists (FN-HR: 25.0% vs. 43.6%, p < 0.001; 38.1% vs. 48.6%, p < 0.001). Comparing gynecologists with hematologist-oncologists, GL adherence in FN-HR chemotherapy was 86.2% vs. 82.5%. In FN-IR chemotherapy, GL adherence by gynecologists and hematologist-oncologists was 58.6% and 55.6%, respectively (p = 0.288; p = 0.424). Classification and regression tree analysis split pulmonologists and other specialists, with the latter adhering more to GL (p < 0.001). Hematologist-oncologists and gynecologists with more than 2 years of professional training in medical cancer therapy adhered more closely to GL than others (68.7% vs. 46.2%, p < 0.001). Pulmonologists attending ≥ 2 national congresses annually adhered more to guidelines than other pulmonologists (44.8% vs. 24.3%, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Adherence to G-CSF GL in Germany has increased but is still insufficient. Certified and comprehensive cancer centers show a higher rate of GL implementation. In GL adherence, there is still a disparity between cancer types and between oncology treatment specialists.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Febrile neutropenia; G-CSF guideline; G-CSF-prophylaxis; Guideline adherence; Lung cancer.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical statement

An opinion has been obtained from the Ethics Committee of Rhineland-Palatinate, Mainz, Germany, in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations for ensuring Good Epidemiological Practice (GEP) [25]. Due to the nature of the study, no additional opinions from ethics committees were required. All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Adherence to EORTC and ASCO G-CSF guidelines to reduce the incidence of febrile neutropenia after chemotherapy by center certification (OnkoZert/DGHO/CCC). FN febrile neutropenia; OR odds ratio; Pearson’s chi-squared test, p values adjusted using the Benjamini and Hochberg procedure to control the false discovery rate (FDR)
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Importance of decision-making tools for treatment decisions (bottom scale: 1 = “not at all important” to 10 = “extremely important”)
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Activities and contributions of physicians to journals, textbooks, guidelines (in percent)
Fig. 4
Fig. 4
Guideline-adherent chemotherapy cycles by profile of the physicians; classification and regression tree analysis (CART): a tree-building binary recursive partitioning method, starting with 3632 chemotherapy cycles

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