Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor to prevent dose-limiting neutropenia in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: a randomized controlled trial

R. Pettengell*, H. Gurney, J. A. Radford, D. P. Deakin, R. James, P. M. Wilkinson, K. Kane, J. Bentley, D. Crowther

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

401 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) on neutropenia, infection, and cytotoxic chemotherapy administration was studied in a randomized trial in patients receiving intensive weekly chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Eighty patients (aged 16 to 71 years) with high-grade NHL (Kiel) of any stage were randomized to receive VAPEC-B chemotherapy alone (39 patients) or with G-CSF administered as a daily subcutaneous dose of 230 μg/m2 (41 patients). Prophylactic ketoconazole and cotrimoxazole were administered to all patients throughout treatment. The protocol specified identical dose modification and antibiotic treatment criteria for both groups. Neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count [ANC] <1.0 x 109/L) occurred in 15 of 41 (37%) of the G-CSF-treated patients and in 33 of 39 (85%) of the controls, giving a relative risk for control patients of 2.31 (95% confidence interval [CI], [1.51, 3.54]; P = .00001). Fever (≥37.5°C) with neutropenia (ANC <1.0 x 109/L) occurred in 9 of 41 (22%) of the G-CSF group and in 17 of 39 (44%) of the controls (relative risk for control, 2.26; 95% Cl [1.01, 5.06]; P = .04). There were fewer treatment delays, with shorter duration (P = .01) in patients receiving G-CSF. Chemotherapy doses were reduced in 4 of 41 (10%) of the G-CSF patients and 13 of 39 (33%) of the controls (P = .01). The dose intensity of cytotoxic chemotherapy was significantly increased in patients receiving G-CSF (median of 95% in G-CSF group compared with 83% in control patients). Three vascular deaths occurred in the G-CSF group. Delays in the control group most commonly resulted from neutropenia (19 patients, compared with 2 patients in the G-CSF-treated group, P = .000007). Severe mucositis was the major dose-limiting toxicity in G-CSF-treated patients, but did not occur more frequently than in controls (15 patients in each group). Overall, patients randomized to receive G-CSF achieved a greater dose intensity than control patients, but this did not result in significant differences in drug toxicity (other than neutropenia), intravenous antibiotic usage, or hospitalization between the two groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1430-1436
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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