INTRODUCTION: Thrombocytopenia denotes abnormal decreases in platelet numbers and is a major detrimental side effect of the chemotherapy or cancer disease itself which cal lead to hemorrhage from vital organ. This is particularly a problem for the brain specifically within solid cancer patients and has a great negative effect on cancer patients quality of life (QOL). It ranges from mild bleeding from small blood vessels to severe bleeding from large blood vessels. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment guidelines for thrombocytopenia among solid cancer patients in Penang hospital and to find associations between these treatments and thrombocytopenia onset and severity and to suggest changes in the guidelines.
METHODS: This retrospective observational study, conducted in a government hospital on Penang island included 341 cancer patients with thrombocytopenia who were admitted in the period between 2003 to 2009. The main statistical tests used were Chi-square test and Logistic regression test. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05.
RESULTS: Of the total of 341, 21 (6.2%) showed thrombocytopenia before receiving chemotherapy and the remaining 320 (93.8%) after chemotherapy. The majority suffered from moderate thrombocytopenia (n=172; 53.8%), followed by mild a (n=97; 30.3%) and finally severe (n=51; 15.9%). For treatment, chemotherapy was delayed/ reduced (n=223; 65.4%) or platelets were transfused (n=51; 34.6%). However, thrombocytopenia problems were only temporarily solved.
CONCLUSION: Effectiveness of thrombocytopenia treatment guidelines was found to be insufficient. It is advisable that thrombopoietin be used as a cornerstone even for patients who suffer from moderate thrombocytopenia and platelets transfusion should be used just for emergency cases when thrombocytopenia leads to a critical situation.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.