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Predicting infectious complications in neutropenic children and young people with cancer (IPD protocol)

Author(s): Phillips Robert S | Sutton Alex J | Riley Richard D | Chisholm Julia C | Picton Susan V | Stewart Lesley A

Journal: Systematic Reviews
ISSN 2046-4053

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 8;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: individual participant data meta-analysis | predictive modelling | paediatric oncology | febrile neutropenia | collaborative studies

Abstract Background A common and potentially life-threatening complication of the treatment of childhood cancer is infection, which frequently presents as fever with neutropenia. The standard management of such episodes is the extensive use of intravenous antibiotics, and though it produces excellent survival rates of over 95%, it greatly inconveniences the three-fourths of patients who do not require such aggressive treatment. There have been a number of studies which have aimed to develop risk prediction models to stratify treatment. Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis in therapeutic studies has been developed to improve the precision and reliability of answers to questions of treatment effect and recently have been suggested to be used to answer questions regarding prognosis and diagnosis to gain greater power from the frequently small individual studies. Design In the IPD protocol, we will collect and synthesise IPD from multiple studies and examine the outcomes of episodes of febrile neutropenia as a consequence of their treatment for malignant disease. We will develop and evaluate a risk stratification model using hierarchical regression models to stratify patients by their risk of experiencing adverse outcomes during an episode. We will also explore specific practical and methodological issues regarding adaptation of established techniques of IPD meta-analysis of interventions for use in synthesising evidence derived from IPD from multiple studies for use in predictive modelling contexts. Discussion Our aim in using this model is to define a group of individuals at low risk for febrile neutropenia who might be treated with reduced intensity or duration of antibiotic therapy and so reduce the inconvenience and cost of these episodes, as well as to define a group of patients at very high risk of complications who could be subject to more intensive therapies. The project will also help develop methods of IPD predictive modelling for use in future studies of risk prediction.
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