Treatment with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for acute leukemia increases the risk of graft-versus-host disease and death: a study from the Acute Leukemia Working Party of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation

Olle Ringdén, Myriam Labopin, Norbert-Claude Gorin, Katarina Le Blanc, Vanderson Rocha, Eliane Gluckman, Jules Reiffers, William Arcese, Jaak M Vossen, Jean-Pierre Jouet, Catherine Cordonnier, Francesco Frassoni
Journal of Clinical Oncology 2004 February 1, 22 (3): 416-23

PURPOSE: Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is given after bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to shorten the neutropenic phase. Its effects have not been evaluated in a large patient population.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We studied 1,789 patients with acute leukemia receiving BMT and 434 patients receiving peripheral-blood stem cells (PBSCs) from HLA-identical siblings from 1992 to 2002 and reported the findings to the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Among the BMT and PBSC patients, 501 (28%) and 175 (40%), respectively, were treated with G-CSF during the first 14 days after the transplantation. The outcome variables were entered into a Cox proportional hazards model.

RESULTS: BMT and PBSC patients treated with G-CSF had a faster engraftment of absolute neutrophils greater than 0.5 x 10(9)/L (P <.01), but platelet engraftment ( > 50 x 10(9)/L) was slower (P <.001). In the BMT patients, acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) grades II to IV was 50% +/- 5% (+/- 95% CI) in the G-CSF group versus 39% +/- 3% in the controls (relative risk [RR], 1.33; P =.007, in the multivariate analysis). The incidence of chronic GVHD was also increased (RR, 1.29; P =.03). G-CSF was associated with an increase in transplantation-related mortality (TRM; RR, 1.73; P =.00016) and had no effect on relapse but reduced survival (RR, 0.59; P <.0001) and leukemia-free survival rates (LFS; RR, 0.64; P =.0003). No such effects of G-CSF were seen in patients receiving PBSC.

CONCLUSION: After BMT, platelet engraftment was delayed, and GVHD and TRM were increased. Survival and LFS were reduced. This suggests that G-CSF should not be given shortly after BMT.

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