Human hematopoietic growth factors: Old lessons and new perspectives

W. Dempke, A. Von Poblozki, A. Grothey, H. J. Schmoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Erythropoietin (EPO), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and granulocyte-macrophage stimulating factor (GM-CSF) are currently licensed for use in cancer patients and play a significant role in the management of anemia and neutropenia following myeloablative chemotherapy. EPO was the first recombinant hematopoietic growth factor to be used clinically after a number of clinical trials which demonstrated its effectiveness in treating mild to moderate cancer-associated anemia with or without concomitant chemotherapy (particulary cisplatin). An extensive research has been made for the improvement of the quality of life with EPO therapy, however, when formally assessed, variable effects of this important treatment have been observed. Recently, EPO has been shown to significantly accelerate hematopoietic reconstitution after peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) resulting in reduced infection rates. Both, G-CSF and GM-CSF have been shown, in numerous trials, to shorten the period of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, with reduction in attendant morbidity and to mobilize PBSC. In addition, administration of both cytokines after PBSCT significantly reduced the use of antibiotics and duration of hospitalization suggesting an economic benefict. The narrower therapeutic window of GM-CSF at higher doses accounts for the fact that it is used much less frequently than G-CSF. To date, none of the growth factors used clinically has been shown to stimulate thrombopoiesis. Although thrombopoietin (TPO) has been found to induce megakaryocyte differentiation in vitro, it is unlikely to enter routine clinical use for treatment of post-chemotherapy thrombocytopenia, since results of clinical trials are not very encouraging, mainly because TPO is difficult to schedule and platelet aggregation may occur. Recently, innovative chimeric growth factor receptor agonists have been synthesized. Synthokine (SC-55494) (a high-affinity human IL-3 receptor ligand analog), myelopoietin (MPO) (activates human IL-3 and G-CSF receptors) and promegapoietin (PMP) (stimulates the human IL-3 and c-mpl receptors) were found to be multilineage hematopoietic growth factors and are currently undergoing clinical trials. Preliminary results suggest that these compounds may have a major impact on the management of myeloablative chemotherapy because of their ability to enhance platelet recovery in addition to their neutrophil restorative activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5155-5164
Number of pages10
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number6 D
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


  • Clinical applications and synthetic growth factors
  • Human growth factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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