Sequential administration of interleukin-3 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor following intensified, accelerated CEE (cyclophosphamide, epirubicin, etoposide) chemotherapy in patients with solid tumors: Cytokinetic effects on bone marrow hematopoietic progenitors

M. Danova, G. Mazzini, R. Alberici, C. Lucotti, S. Palmeri, G. Fincato, M. Cazzola, A. Riccardi, E. Ascari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The biological mechanisms by which the association of interleukin-3 (IL-3) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is expected to effectively reduce the hematological toxicity associated with chemotherapy (CT) are not completely elucidated. We exploited the cell kinetic changes of the bone marrow CD34 + cell subset after CT followed by the IL-3+GM-CSF together with the clinical effects of this association. Eighteen patients with advanced cancers and normal hematopoiesis were treated with an intensified CT course (mg/m 2: CTX 1100, epirubicin 100, VP-16 200; iv day 1). Six cycles were planned at 14-day intervals with the support of IL-3 (5 μg/kg/day; from day 2 to 6) sequenced with GM-CSF (same dose; from day 7 to 11). DNA content and bromodeoxyuridine incorporation were evaluated using flow cytometry on immunomagnetically-sorted bone marrow CD34 + cells, at baseline and at different times (days 5, 6, 7, 8, 11 and 14) after CT followed by IL-3+GM-CSF. Treatment with IL-3 induced a marked increase in the % of myeloid precursors with respect to the baseline and in the % of CD34 + cells in S-phase. However, while the first parameter remained elevated until day 14, the enhanced proliferative activity of the CD34 + cell subset decreased after IL-3 was stopped and remained significantly low during GM-CSF administration. These data suggest a negative rebound effect on CD34 + cell proliferation after IL-3 discontinuation which is maintained during GM-CSF, that led to kinetic refractoriness of the hyperplastic marrow. In the 99 courses completed a rapid neutrophil and platelet recovery was obtained without cumulative multilineage toxicity. The modifications of CD34 + cell cycling after CT followed by IL-3+GM-CSF could provide additional myeloprotection during multicyclic, dose-intensive programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-976
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996



  • cell kinetics
  • dose-intensive chemotherapy
  • flow cytometry
  • GM-CSF
  • hematopoietic progenitor cells
  • IL-3
  • myeloprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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