There have been major advances in the treatment of and
outcomes in childhood cancer. Improved outcomes have largely
been achieved by more intensive and toxic treatment regimens,
including cytotoxic chemotherapy,1 radiotherapy and/or surgery.
Chemotherapy-induced immunosuppression renders children
who receive treatment for cancer extremely vulnerable to lifethreatening
infections, which are a major cause of morbidity
and mortality. Prompt and aggressive intervention with empiric
antibiotics has reduced mortality in this group of patients.