Does a neutropenic diet reduce adverse outcomes in patients undergoing chemotherapy?

Mei Shan Heng, Jessica Barbon Gauro, Alison Yaxley, Jolene Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: This study aimed to compare clinical outcomes of chemotherapy patients who received either a neutropenic diet (ND) or liberalised diet (LD) and to investigate associations between ND and infectious outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective case note audit of patients admitted to Flinders Medical Centre from 2013 to 2017 was conducted. Patients were eligible if they were aged 18 years and above, received chemotherapy and were neutropenic during admission. Demographic and clinical data were collected from medical records. Primary outcomes were occurrence of infections and fever. Secondary outcomes include hospital length of stay and infection-related mortality.

Results: Seventy-nine patients received ND while 75 patients received LD. The ND group had more patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (p <.001) and receiving high-toxicity chemotherapy (p =.005). Incidence of febrile neutropenia (p =.016), bacteraemia (p =.044) and number of febrile days (p =.033) was higher in the ND group. ND was not independently associated with occurrence of febrile neutropenia or infections. Subsample analysis of 20 pairs of patients matched on age, sex and cancer diagnosis found no significant differences in clinical outcomes between groups.

Conclusion: ND was not associated with the prevention of adverse outcomes in chemotherapy patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13155
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Aug 2019


  • cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • diet
  • infection
  • neoplasm
  • neutropenia

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