Febrile neutropenia is still one of the most important complications of treatment in cancer patients. These patients become prone to infection and consequently higher mortality and morbidity. This study aimed to determine the accuracy of serum procalcitonin (PCT) level in the detection of infection in pediatric cancer patients complicated with febrile neutropenia.
In this cross-sectional study, all pediatric patients affected by cancer and febrile neutropenia following chemotherapy (n=107) were investigated from August 2014 to August 2015. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), and serum levels of PCT, as well as blood and urine culture, were evaluated in all patients.
The mean age of the patients was 78 ± 55 months (3 - 214 months), and in terms of gender, 53 patients (49.5%) were male. Overall, 25 patients (23.4%) and 13 patients (12%) showed positive blood and urine culture, respectively. The area under the curve (AUC) receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was illustrated to determine how much PCT can couldpredict infection.(AUC =0.74, 95% CI: 0.61-0.87, P<0.001). Considering the cut-off of serum PCT levels as 0.70ng/mL, sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive valueof PCT were 0.76, 0.744, 0.475, and 0.91, respectively. In addition, PCT showed significant correlations with CRP (rs=0.415, P<0.001) and ESR (rs =0.262, P=0.009).
According to the findings of this study, serum PCT levels can be used as a diagnostic test with acceptable sensitivity and specificity and high negative predictive value, but the low positive predictive value in the evaluation of infections in patients affected by cancer and complicated with fever and neutropenia.
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