Prophylactic antibiotics, barrier isolation, and air quality control measures can substantially reduce the risk of death in high-risk cancer patients after chemotherapy, a systematic review has shown. Researchers analysed 29 studies and found mortality risk was reduced 40 per cent at 30 days post-treatment when this combination of infection control measures was employed. However, inclusion of prophylactic antibiotics was crucial to show the beneficial effect on mortality. Analysis of a further 11 studies on inpatient versus outpatient management after haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation showed that all-cause mortality was 28 per cent lower in outpatients.

Schlesinger A, Paul M, Gafter-Gvili A et al. Lancet Infect Dis 2009;9(2):97-107

Originally published in the March 2009 edition of MIMS Oncology & Palliative Care.