Potential use of procalcitonin as a diagnostic criterion in febrile neutropenia: experience from a multicentre study

Authors


Corresponding author and reprint requests: H. Giamarellou, 4th Department of Internal Medicine, Attikon University General Hospital, Athens 124 64, Greece
E-mail: giamarel@internet.gr

Abstract

In order to assess the diagnostic value of procalcitonin, 158 patients with febrile neutropenia from centres across Europe were studied. Patients with fever were diagnosed on the basis of either: (1) clinical, radiological and microbiological criteria; or (2) the procalcitonin value. In the latter case, concentrations of 0.5–1.0 ng/mL were considered diagnostic of localised infection, concentrations of 1.0–5.0 ng/mL of bacteraemia, and concentrations of > 5.0 ng/mL of severe sepsis. Procalcitonin and C-reactive protein were estimated daily in serum by immunochemiluminescence and nephelometry, respectively. Overall, the sensitivity (specificity) of procalcitonin for bacteraemia was 44.2% (64.3%) at concentrations of 1.0–5.0 ng/mL, and 83.3% (100%) for severe sepsis at concentrations of > 5.0 ng/mL. It was concluded that procalcitonin is a marker strongly suggestive of severe sepsis at concentrations of > 5.0 ng/mL. Estimated concentrations of < 0.5 ng/mL indicate that infection is unlikely, but it was observed that bacteraemia associated with coagulase-negative staphylococci may fail to elevate serum procalcitonin levels.

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