Absolute neutrophil count

Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) is a measure of the number of neutrophil granulocytes[1] (also known as polymorphonuclear cells, PMN's, polys, granulocytes, segmented neutrophils or segs) present in the blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that fights against infection.

The ANC is almost always a part of a larger blood panel called the complete blood count. The ANC is calculated from measurements of the total number of white blood cells (WBC), usually based on the combined percentage of mature neutrophils (sometimes called "segs," or segmented cells) and bands, which are immature neutrophils.

Clinical significance[]

The reference range for ANC in adults varies by study, but 1500 to 8000 cells per microliter is typical. An ANC less than 1500 cells/µL is defined as neutropenia and increases risk of infection. Neutropenia is the condition of a low ANC, and the most common condition where an ANC would be measured is in the setting of chemotherapy for cancer.

Neutrophilia indicates an elevated count. While many clinicians refer to the presence of neutrophilia as a "left shift," this is imprecise, as a left shift indicates the presence of immature neutrophil forms,[citation needed] but neutrophilia refers to the entire mass of neutrophils, both mature and immature. Neutrophilia can be indicative of:




ANC = (Absolute-Polys + Absolute-Bands)

In the above, we assume that the WBC is given in cells/µL (or thousand cells/mL, i.e. K/mL) such as 8,800 cells/µL or 8,800 K/mL; WBC 14.4 k/µL


Risk Category ANC
Mild ≥ 1000 to < 1500 cells/microL
Moderate ≥ 500 to < 1000 cells/microL
Severe < 500 cells/microL

Source: Boxer LA. How to approach neutropenia. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program 2012; 2012:174[2]

Related tests[]

In some cases, a ratio is reported in addition to the sum. This is known as the "I/T ratio".[3][4]


  1. ^ Al-Gwaiz LA, Babay HH (2007). "The diagnostic value of absolute neutrophil count, band count and morphologic changes of neutrophils in predicting bacterial infections". Med Princ Pract. 16 (5): 344–7. doi:10.1159/000104806. PMID 17709921.
  2. ^ Boxer, Laurence A. (2012). "How to approach neutropenia". Hematology. American Society of Hematology. Education Program. 2012: 174–182. doi:10.1182/asheducation.v2012.1.174.3798251. ISSN 1520-4383. PMID 23233578.
  3. ^ Walliullah SM, Islam MN, Siddika M, Hossain MA, Chowdhury AK (January 2009). "Role of Micro-ESR and I/T Ratio in the Early Diagnosis of Neonatal Sepsis". Mymensingh Med J. 18 (1): 56–61. PMID 19182751.
  4. ^ Russell GA, Smyth A, Cooke RW (July 1992). "Receiver operating characteristic curves for comparison of serial neutrophil band forms and C reactive protein in neonates at risk of infection". Arch. Dis. Child. 67 (7 Spec No): 808–12. doi:10.1136/adc.67.7_Spec_No.808. PMC 1590438. PMID 1519980.

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