• In an attempt to determine the relationship between neutropenia (absolute granulocyte count < 1,000/cu mm), infection, and disease status, 20 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia were observed for a total of 34 patient-years. Febrile episodes occurred with much greater frequency in patients during the course of treatment induction (0.9/mo), or while in relapse (2.46/mo) than while in remission (0.19/mo). A cause for fever was identified much more frequently in patients in remission, both when neutropenic and nonneutropenic. When absolute granulocyte counts fell below 200/cu mm, a cause for fever was generally identified regardless of disease status. We propose that the majority of febrile episodes in patients at the time of induction of treatment or in relapse with neutrophil counts of more than 200/cu mm are caused by the disease process rather than secondary to a diagnosable infection.
(Am J Dis Child 131:157-158, 1977)