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N Engl J Med. 1991 Jun 20;324(25):1773-8.

Recombinant granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor after autologous bone marrow transplantation for lymphoid cancer.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.



The period of neutropenia after autologous bone marrow transplantation results in substantial morbidity and mortality. The results of previous phase I-II clinical trials suggest that recombinant human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (rhGM-CSF) may accelerate neutrophil recovery and thereby reduce complications in patients after autologous bone marrow transplantation.


We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial at three institutions. The study design and treatment schedules were identical, and the results were pooled for analysis. One hundred twenty-eight patients were enrolled. Sixty-five patients received rhGM-CSF in a two-hour intravenous infusion daily for 21 days, starting within four hours of the marrow infusion, and 63 patients received placebo.


No toxic effects specifically ascribed to rhGM-CSF were observed. The patients given rhGM-CSF had a recovery of the neutrophil count to 500 x 10(6) per liter 7 days earlier than the patients who received placebo (19 vs. 26 days, P less than 0.001), had fewer infections, required 3 fewer days of antibiotic administration (24 vs. 27 days, P = 0.009), and required 6 fewer days of initial hospitalization (median, 27 vs. 33 days; P = 0.01). There was no difference in the survival rate at day 100.


In patients undergoing autologous bone marrow transplantation for lymphoid neoplasia, rhGM-CSF significantly lessens morbidity. Further studies will be required to establish its optimal dosage and schedule of administration.

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