Optimized granulocyte colony-stimulating factor prophylaxis in adult cancer patients: From biological principles to clinical guidelines

Nicola Silvestris, Marzia Del Re, Amalia Azzariti, Evaristo Maiello, Lucia Lombardi, Saverio Cinieri, Attilio Guarini, Anna Elisabetta Brunetti, Sabina Delcuratolo, Fernando De Vita, Salvatore Pisconti, Romano Danesi, Giuseppe Colucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, the depth and length of which are correlated to the risk of febrile neutropenia (FN) and neutropenia sepsis, remains a serious problem in medical oncology. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSF) stimulate the proliferation and survival of neutrophils and their precursors, thereby reducing the incidence, duration and severity of neutropenic events across a broad range of malignancies and regimens, often enabling the delivery of full chemotherapy dose intensity. Areas covered: In this review, areas covered include the physiologic role of G-CSF in granulopoiesis, as well as a related biological model of bone marrow kinetics after chemotherapy. Information relating to the application of clinical guidelines for optimization of prophylaxis of FN in adult cancer patients was critically summarized. The literature and pharmacological data were obtained through an electronic search. Expert opinion: There are relevant physiological and clinical evidences for the use of G-CSF to prevent FN and to ameliorate the myelotoxicities of cancer chemotherapy. In particular, biological models are in favor of the prophylactic rather than therapeutic use of G-CSF therapy. Use of a single dose of pegfilgrastim per cycle in appropriate patients provides a more convenient and potentially more effective strategy for assisting neutrophil recovery. While biosimilars may cost less, future developments in their regulation will need to address multiple issues. In the interim, physicians should remember that small differences in biochemical and biophysical characteristics might translate into differences in potency and immunogenic potential.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue numberSUPPL.2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • febrile neutropenia
  • G-CSF
  • granulopoiesis
  • pegfilgrastim
  • prophylaxis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine


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