Cancer chemotherapy is probably the most common cause of neutropenia. People with chemotherapy-related neutropenia are prone to infections while they wait for their cell counts to recover.

Neutrophils are manufactured in bone marrow — the spongy tissue inside some of your larger bones. Anything that disrupts neutrophil production can result in neutropenia.

Specific causes include:

  1. Kostmann's syndrome — a congenital disorder involving low production of neutrophils
  2. Myelokathexis — a congenital disorder involving failure of neutrophils to enter the bloodstream
  3. Myelodysplastic syndromes
  4. Myelofibrosis
  5. Chemotherapy
  6. Chronic idiopathic neutropenia in adults
  7. Vitamin deficiencies

Certain infections also can result in neutropenia, including:

  1. Hepatitis B
  2. Hepatitis C
  3. Malaria
  4. Salmonella infection
  5. Sepsis — an overwhelming bloodstream infection that uses up neutrophils faster than they can be produced
  6. Other viral infections that disrupt the work of bone marrow

Conditions that destroy neutrophils in the bloodstream and that can result in neutropenia include:

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders
  2. Medications, such as antibiotics
  3. Hypersplenism — an abnormality of the spleen causing blood cell destruction

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Jan. 20, 2016