What is the definition of Agranulocytosis?

White blood cells fight infections from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other germs. One important type of white blood cell is the granulocyte, which is made in the bone marrow and travels in the blood throughout the body. Granulocytes sense infections, gather at sites of infection, and destroy the germs.

When the body has too few granulocytes, the condition is called agranulocytosis. This makes it harder for the body to fight off germs. As a result, the person is more likely to get sick from infections.

What are the alternative names for Agranulocytosis?

Granulocytopenia; Granulopenia

What are the causes for Agranulocytosis?

Agranulocytosis may be caused by:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Bone marrow diseases, such as myelodysplasia or large granular lymphocyte (LGL) leukemia
  • Certain medicines used to treat diseases, including cancer
  • Certain street drugs
  • Poor nutrition
  • Preparation for bone marrow transplant
  • Problem with genes

What are the symptoms for Agranulocytosis?

Symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Malaise
  • General weakness
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth and throat ulcers
  • Bone pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Shock

What are the current treatments for Agranulocytosis?

Treatment depends on the cause of the low white blood cell count. For example, if a medicine is the cause, stopping or changing to another medicine may help. In other cases, medicines to help the body make more white blood cells will be used.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Agranulocytosis?

Treating or removing the cause often results in a good outcome.

How do I prevent Agranulocytosis?

If you are having treatment or taking medicine that could cause agranulocytosis, your health care provider will use blood tests to monitor you.

Blood cells


Cook JR. Bone marrow failure syndromes. In: Hsi ED, ed. Hematopathology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 5.

Klokkevold PR, Mealey BL. Influence of systemic conditions. In: Newman MG, Takei HH, Klokkevold PR, Carranza FA, eds. Newman and Carranza's Clinical Periodontology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 14.

Sive J, Foggo V. Haematological disease. In: Feather A, Randall D, Waterhouse M, eds. Kumar and Clarke's Clinical Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 17.

  • Condition: Prevention of Gram-Positive Infections Associated with Long-Term Central Venous Catheters (CVCs) in Adult and Children Cancer Patients
  • Journal: The Cochrane database of systematic reviews
  • Treatment Used: Antibiotics
  • Number of Patients: 1244
  • Published —
This review of the literature assessed the the effects of administering antibiotics prior to the insertion of long-term central venous catheters (CVCs) to prevent gram-positive infections in adults and children receiving treatment for cancer.
  • Condition: Stage III Gastric Cancer
  • Journal: BMC cancer
  • Treatment Used: Adjuvant Chemotherapy with Docetaxel/Cisplatin/S-1 Followed by S-1 (DCS)
  • Number of Patients: 30
  • Published —
This study evaluated the feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy with docetaxel/cisplatin/S-1 (DCS) following S-1 therapy in the treatment of patients with stage III gastric cancer after curative gastrectomy.