Examining health-related quality of life in pediatric cancer patients with febrile neutropenia: factors predicting poor recovery in children and their parents

Anna Crothers, Gabrielle M. Haeusler, Monica A. Slavin, Franz E. Babl, Francoise Mechinaud, Robert Phillips, Heather Tapp, Bhavna Padhye, David Zeigler, Julia Clark, Thomas Walwyn, Leanne Super, Frank Alvaro, Karin Thursky, Richard De Abreu Lourenco

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The impact febrile neutropenia (FN) has on the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of children with cancer and their families is poorly understood. We sought to characterize the course of child and parent HRQoL during and following FN episodes. Method: Data on HRQoL were collected in the multisite Australian Predicting Infectious ComplicatioNs in Children with Cancer (PICNICC) study. Participants were enrolled between November 2016 to January 2018. The Child Health Utility (CHU9D) was used to assess HRQoL in children (N = 167 FN events) and the Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL-8D) was used to assess HRQoL parents (N = 218 FN events) at three time points: 0–3 days, 7-days and 30-days following the onset of FN. Group-based trajectory modeling (GBTM) was used to characterize the course of HRQoL. Findings: For children, three distinct groups were identified: persistently low HRQoL over the 30-day course of follow-up (chronic: N = 78/167; 47%), increasing HRQoL after the onset of FN to 30 days follow-up (recovering: N = 36/167; 22%), and persistently high HRQoL at all three timepoints (resilient: N = 53/167; 32%). Applying these definitions, parents were classified into two distinct groups: chronic (N = 107/218, 49%) and resilient (N = 111/218, 51%). The child being male, having solid cancer, the presence of financial stress, and relationship difficulties between the parent and child were significant predictors of chronic group membership for both parents and children. Children classified as high-risk FN were significantly more likely to belong to the recovery group. Being female, having blood cancers and the absence of financial or relationship difficulties were predictive of both parents and children being in the resilient group. Interpretation: Approximately half the children and parents had chronically low HRQoL scores, which did not improve following resolution of the FN episode. The child's sex, cancer type, and presence of financial and relationship stress were predictive of chronic group membership for both parents and children. These families may benefit from increased financial and psychosocial support during anti-cancer treatment. Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council Grant (APP1104527).

Original languageEnglish
Article number101095
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Child
  • Febrile neutropenia
  • Fever
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Parent, pediatric cancer
  • Pediatric oncology

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