Procalcitonin (PCT) is an early marker of bacterial infection but little is known about its value in neutropenic allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT) recipients. We collected plasma from 12 recipients of T-cell-depleted HLA-matched related BMT recipients who had been treated preemptively with meropenem from the day after BMT for at least 15 days. PCT and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations were determined on BMT days 1, 5, 8, 12, and 15, and their relationship to inflammatory events (IE), including mucositis, microbiologically and clinically defined infections, acute graft-versus-host disease (GVDH), and unexplained fever, was then determined. The PCT concentrations were all low and never exceeded 4 μg/liter, unlike CRP concentrations, which spanned the full range up to 350 mg/liter. All patients had mucositis, and there was no significant difference between PCT concentrations associated with mucositis alone and those associated with an additional IE on BMT days 1 to 12. However, on BMT day 15, the mean concentrations of PCT were 0.37 ± 0.05 μg/liter for the 10 patients that had an additional IE, compared with 0.11 ± 0.03 μg/liter for the 2 patients with mucositis only (P = 0.012), and GVHD rather than infection was involved in six cases. PCT was also not a sensitive marker of gram-positive bacteremia or pulmonary aspergillosis. Thus, PCT is of little value in discriminating infections from other inflammatory complications that occur following allogeneic BMT
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