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Paediatr Drugs. 2003;5(10):673-84.

The role of colony-stimulating factors and granulocyte transfusion in treatment options for neutropenia in children with cancer.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Children with cancer receiving anticancer therapy always experience neutropenia, and as a result often develop serious neutropenic infections that cause morbidity and/or mortality. Intensive chemotherapy with improved supportive care for neutropenia contribute to the recent advances in treatment outcome in children with cancer. Recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and recombinant human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) can shorten the duration and decrease the severity of neutropenia, and thus support intensive chemotherapy. Both G-CSF and GM-CSF stimulate proliferation and maturation of myeloid progenitor cells and are thus used to help mobilization of peripheral blood progenitor cells, and after stem-cell transplantation. The American Society of Clinical Oncology 2000 Guidelines recommended that colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) can be administered as a primary prophylaxis with a chemotherapy regimen if previous experiences with chemotherapy regimens have shown that the incidence of febrile neutropenia (neutropenic fever) is > or =40%. The routine use of CSFs for secondary prophylaxis or for patients with afebrile neutropenia is not recommended in order to avoid the overuse of CSFs. The use of a CSF may be considered in children with febrile neutropenia with a neutrophil count <100/microL, uncontrolled primary disease, pneumonia, hypotension, multiorgan dysfunction (sepsis syndrome), or invasive fungal infection. Although these guidelines are generally applicable to children with cancer, further studies on CSFs are certainly needed in pediatric oncology. The recent advances in granulocyte collection, using healthy volunteer donor stimulation with G-CSF and/or dexamethasone to yield large numbers of granulocytes has made granulocyte transfusion a more realistic option. Granulocyte transfusion has shown promising results in treating children with severe neutropenic infection; however, controlled trials are warranted to clarify the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of this procedure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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