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Pathophysiology and treatment of severe chronic neutropenia.

Severe chronic neutropenia (SCN) include a heterogeneous group of diseases characterized by blood neutrophil counts chronically less than 0.5 x 10(9)/ L. In phase I-III studies in SCN patients, treatment with recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor (r-metHuG-CSF; Filgrastim) resulted in a rise in the absolute neutrophil counts (ANC) to above 1.0 x 10(9)/L associated with a reduction in bacterial infections. Long-term treatment with filgrastim up to 8 years demonstrate a sustained ANC response, a significant reduction of the need for intravenous antibiotics and a dramatic improvement in the quality of life. In 1994 an international registry for severe chronic neutropenia (SCNIR) was established to improve care for chronic neutropenia and for further understanding the pathophysiology of this rare disease. Three-hundred and ten patients have been enrolled to this registry so far. Worldwide phase I-III studies with filgrastim and SCNIR provide information on 424 patients with severe chronic neutropenia. Adverse events include the development of acute myeloid leukemia in approximately 7% of the patients within the cohort of patients with congenital neutropenia (Kostmann's syndrome) suggesting that congenital neutropenia is a preleukemic syndrome. None of the patients with cyclic of idiopathic neutropenia developed leukemia suggesting that filgrastim is not involved in the development of leukemia.

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