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A male medical professional stands by the bedside of a female patient, seemingly with cancer as she is wearing a head covering, while he discusses some information with her.

Some patients who receive chemotherapy develop a serious health problem called febrile neutropenia (FN), which involves having a fever and a low number of a type of white blood cells. Having a low number of white blood cells puts patients at risk for infection.

Different types of chemotherapy can put patients at different levels of risk for FN. When patients get chemotherapy that can create a high risk of FN, a type of medicine called colony-stimulating factor (CSF) can help prevent it. A doctor must prescribe this medicine. Many doctors use computer-based systems to order prescriptions for their patients.

The PCORI-funded TrACER study, led by a team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, tested whether adding information to a prescription order system would make it easier for doctors to follow practice guidelines and chemotherapy patients to get the medicine to prevent FN.

Nearly 3,000 participants from 32 cancer clinics were a part of the study. The study included adults aged 18 and older with breast, lung, or colorectal cancer who were getting chemotherapy at one of the 32 study cancer clinics and who spoke English or Spanish.

The research team found adding standing physician orders in the prescription order system did not significantly change the way doctors prescribed CSF for patients on high or low FN risk chemotherapy.

The research team presented its results at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

This trial also studied whether CSFs are effective for patients starting chemotherapy that have a medium risk of FN.

Posted: July 7, 2022

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