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Haematologica. 2009 May;94(5):712-9. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2008.002170. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Hematopoietic growth factors in aplastic anemia patients treated with immunosuppressive therapy-systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Institute of Hematology, Davidoff Center, Beilinson Hospital, Rabin Medical Center, Petah-Tikva, Israel.


Immunosuppressive therapy is the treatment for aplastic anemia patients ineligible for transplantation. The role of hematopoietic growth factors as adjunct to treatment in these patients is unclear. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing treatment with immunosuppressive therapy and hematopoietic growth factors to immunosuppressive therapy alone in patients with aplastic anemia. Two reviewers appraised the quality of trials and extracted data. For each trial, results were expressed as relative risks with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for dichotomous data. The addition of hematopoietic growth factors yielded no difference in overall mortality at 100 days, one year and five years [relative risks 1.33 (95% CI 0.56-3.18), relative risks 0.90 (95% CI 0.50-1.63) and relative risks 0.89 (95% CI 0.55-1.46), respectively]. There was no difference in overall hematologic response and in the occurrence of infections. HGF significantly decreased the risk for relapse, relative risks 0.45 (95% CI 0.30-0.68, 3 trials). Hematopoietic growth factors were not associated with higher occurrence of myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia or paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. The addition of hematopoietic growth factors does not affect mortality, response rate or infections occurrence. Therefore, it should not be recommended routinely as an adjunct to the immunosuppressive therapy for patients with aplastic anemia.

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