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Clinical Significance of Varying Degrees of Neutropenia Explored

Dose-dependent correlation for viral infections, hematological malignancies, and mortality

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WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Neutropenia is associated with viral infections and hematological malignancies in a dose-dependent manner, according to a study published online Jan. 21 in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

C.L. Andersen, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues examined the clinical significance of neutropenia. A primary care resource was used to examine the correlation with various conditions and all-cause mortality in the four years following neutropenia identification for more than 370,000 individuals.

The researchers identified neutropenia in about 1 percent of all individuals, which correlated with viral infections, hematological malignancies (but not autoimmune disorders or solid cancers), and mortality in a dose-dependent manner. There was a particular correlation for neutropenia with HIV, acute leukemias, and myelodysplastic syndromes. For individuals with subnormal, mild, and moderate neutropenia, the odds ratios for viral infections were 2.32, 2.80, and 4.77, respectively (all P < 0.001); for hematological malignancies, the corresponding odds ratios were 3.23, 8.69, and 46.03, respectively (all P < 0.001). The likelihood of these diseases was greater with lower absolute neutrophil count. For severe neutropenia, the relative risk estimates corresponded with absolute risks of hematological malignancies and any-cause mortality of 40 and >50 percent, respectively.

"The risk estimates presented here support focusing attention to viral diseases and hematological malignancies when neutropenia is observed," the authors write.

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