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Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):231-8.

Hematopoietic growth factors in patients receiving intensive chemotherapy for malignant disorders: studies of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-3 (IL-3) and Flt-3 ligand (Flt3L).

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Department of Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital and the University of Bergen, N-5021 Bergen, Norway.


The levels of hematopoietic growth factors in patients receiving intensive chemotherapy for malignant disorders were investigated using a variety of approaches. Firstly, serum levels of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), G-CSF and Flt3-ligand (Flt3L) were examined in acute leukemia patients with treatment-induced cytopenia and complicating bacterial infections. Increased serum levels of both G-CSF and Flt3-ligand (Flt3L) were detected when these patients developed therapy-induced leukopenia, whereas GM-CSF levels were low or undetectable. Development of complicating bacterial infections then increased the serum levels of both G- and GM-CSF, and the Flt3L levels remained high during the infections. Secondly, release of growth factors was characterized for clonogenic T cells that remained in the circulation of acute leukemia patients with chemotherapy-induced cytopenia. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from these patients released high levels of GM-CSF, relatively low levels of IL-3 secretion having been detected, and only a minority of the clones released detectable amounts of Flt3L. Thus, circulating T cells may contribute to the high systemic growth factor levels in cytopenic patients. Thirdly, plasma levels of GM-CSF and interleukin-3 (IL-3) were examined in patients with malignant disorders who received chemotherapy plus G-CSF for stem cell mobilization. Increased levels of GM-CSF and Flt3L were detected both in the patients' plasma and in the stem cell grafts. Despite the increased growth factor levels in neutropenic patients with complicating infections, the occurrence of febrile neutropenia did not have a major impact on normal hematopoietic reconstitution (i.e. duration of treatment-induced neutropenia) after intensive chemotherapy for acute myelogenous leukemia.

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