High-dose cytarabine has been associated with a high frequency of viridans group streptococcal (VGS) bacteraemia. VGS bacteraemia causes considerable morbidity and mortality. The Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO)-AML protocols use higher cumulated doses of cytarabine and more chemotherapy series (n = 6) than other protocols with the potential increased risk of severe VGS infections.
Medical records of all Danish children enrolled on the NOPHO-AML-2004 protocol between January 2004 and September 2011 (n = 45) were retrospectively reviewed and all febrile episodes were registered.
Following 236 courses of chemotherapy, 112 positive blood cultures were registered. VGS were found in 38% of all positive blood cultures. Infectious episodes with VGS resulted in more days of fever and intravenous antibiotic therapy compared with infections caused by other microorganisms. VGS were involved in 45% of all episodes categorized as sepsis (n = 51) and in 67% of life-threatening bloodstream infections (n = 9). Penicillin resistance was found in 40% of the VGS strains. No significant difference was observed in the proportion of VGS isolated following courses with low-dose cytarabine versus courses with high-dose cytarabine.
VGS were the most commonly isolated pathogens causing the most severe infections and the majority of life-threatening infections. A substantial proportion of the strains were resistant to penicillin. The high rate of VGS seemed independent of high-dose cytarabine but was more likely caused by the intensive chemotherapy treatment leading to severe mucositis and neutropenia. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2013; 60: 1154–1160. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.