Oral care with vancomycin paste for reduction in incidence of alpha-hemolytic streptococcal sepsis

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 1995 May;17(2):151-5. doi: 10.1097/00043426-199505000-00009.


Purpose: alpha-Hemolytic streptococcal (AHS) sepsis is increasing in oncology patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy. In response to a high rate of AHS sepsis in this population at our institution, an oral care protocol was instituted, including vancomycin 0.5% in flavored methylcellulose (vanc paste) applied orally t.i.d. at the oncologists' discretion.

Patients and methods: A retrospective cohort study of 239 neutropenic episodes among 42 children receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy between 1988 and 1991 compared the incidence of septicemia based on the prophylactic use of vanc paste.

Results: A total of 236 consecutive neutropenic episodes were evaluable, 121 with vanc paste and 115 without. AHS sepsis occurred in one child using vanc paste and in six children not using vanc paste (p = 0.06). Excluding staph-only positive blood cultures, which would not be reduced with a topical oral antibiotic drug, there were 6 and 13 positive blood cultures in the vanc-paste and nonvanc-paste patients, respectively (p = 0.09). There was no increase in incidence of gram-negative bacteremia among vanc-paste recipients. Vancomycin resistance was not encountered.

Conclusion: This analysis suggests that vanc paste effectively reduces AHS sepsis, does not increase gram-negative bacteremia, and is not associated with vancomycin resistance. A multicentered, placebo-controlled, double-blind study is currently planned.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / blood
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / microbiology
  • Mouth Diseases / epidemiology
  • Mouth Diseases / microbiology
  • Mouth Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Neutropenia / epidemiology
  • Neutropenia / microbiology
  • Ointments
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis / epidemiology
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Sepsis / prevention & control*
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Streptococcus
  • Vancomycin / administration & dosage*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Ointments
  • Vancomycin