Itraconazole prophylaxis in pediatric cancer patients receiving conventional chemotherapy or autologous stem cell transplants


Simon A, Besuden M, Vezmar S, Hasan C, Lampe D, Kreutzberg S, Glasmacher A, Bode U, Fleischhack G

Date: 9 October 2006


GOAL OF WORK: During the renovation works at our institution, the incidence density for invasive aspergillosis (IA) increased from <0.5 to 0.99/1,000 inpatient days in 2001. As a direct response to this increased environmental risk, itraconazole (ITC) was administered for primary prophylaxis in pediatric cancer patients for whom a particular high risk of IA was anticipated due to prolonged severe neutropenia (>10 days), autologous stem cell transplantation, acute myeloblastic leukemia or relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or high-dose steroids >3 weeks. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this open-label, prospective observational study, ITC was given in ITC solution or capsule. Trough concentrations were measured in plasma with high-performance liquid chromatography after at least 7 days of treatment. Doses were adjusted to target plasma trough ITC concentrations >/=0.5 mg/l. RESULTS: From 2001 to 2005, 39 pediatric cancer patients received 44 prophylactic ITC cycles; 102 trough plasma concentrations were measured after oral administration. Plasma target concentrations >0.5 mg/l were achieved with both formulations. A median dose of 8 mg kg(-1) day(-1) (3.5-16.0 mg kg(-1) day(-1)) was necessary in pediatric oncology patients. The bioavailability of the liquid formulation was significantly lower when the solution was given by a feeding tube. Adverse effects (gastrointestinal, elevated transaminases, and one hemolysis) which led to the cessation of the ITC prophylaxis were reported in 11% of all courses. No breakthrough infection was seen in this pediatric population. CONCLUSION: Oral ITC offers a feasible and inexpensive option for antifungal prophylaxis in selected pediatric cancer patients. Drug monitoring and meticulous consideration of possible interactions and adverse effects are mandatory

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