The optimal duration of empiric antimicrobial therapy of febrile neutropenia in patients after cellular therapy is unclear. Early deescalation has been suggested by some authorities; however, data are lacking for cellular therapy recipients. We performed a randomized controlled study of cellular therapy recipients with febrile neutropenia to evaluate the safety and noninferiority of an early deescalation and discontinuation antibiotic strategy (EDD arm) versus standard broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment until recovery of neutropenia (standard duration arm). The primary outcome was the fraction of antibiotic-free neutropenia days. We randomized 110 patients to the standard duration arm (n = 51) or EDD arm (n = 59). The fraction of antibiotic-free neutropenia days was higher in the EDD arm compared to the standard duration arm (median, .8 [interquartile range (IQR), .62 to .86] versus .51 [IQR, .17 to .86]; P = .016). This was true for the per-protocol, allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), autologous HCT, and anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy subgroups. Treatment success rate, subsequent fever, death within 30 days, and other common cellular therapy-related toxicities were all similar between the 2 study arms. An EDD antibiotic strategy in patients after cellular therapy was safe and associated with a substantial reduction in broad-spectrum antibiotic utilization without compromising cellular therapy outcomes.
- Hematopoietic cell transplantation