Recombinant granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (rG-CSF). A review of its pharmacological properties and prospective role in neutropenic conditions

Drugs. 1991 Aug;42(2):300-30. doi: 10.2165/00003495-199142020-00009.


Recombinant granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (rG-CSF) is a glycoprotein hormone which has been produced in mammalian cells and, in a nonglycosylated form, in the bacterium Escherichia coli through recombinant DNA technology. It stimulates proliferation, differentiation and activation of cells of the neutrophil-granulocyte lineage and has been investigated as therapy for patients with various neutropenic conditions, both iatrogenic and disease related. rG-CSF is well tolerated, the most frequently reported adverse effect being mild to moderate bone pain. A major use for rG-CSF therapy will be in ameliorating the neutropenia which follows cytoreductive chemotherapy. rG-CSF accelerates neutrophil recovery after chemotherapy, leading to a reduction in duration of the neutropenic phase. Consequently, infection rate is diminished, as is the associated usage of antibiotics and duration of hospitalisation. The implications are that rG-CSF may allow increased dose intensity and stricter adherence to chemotherapy schedules. The increase in neutrophils produced by rG-CSF renders it a useful treatment for conditions such as congenital, acquired and cyclic neutropenias for which current therapy is not very successful. rG-CSF may be an effective therapy in myelodysplasia, although there is concern about acceleration of the possible rate of conversion of this disease to acute myelogenous leukaemia. It is also likely that rG-CSF will be useful in accelerating the recovery of transplanted bone marrow in patients with leukaemia, lymphoma and solid tumour. Furthermore, there is great potential for expansion of the role of rG-CSF as monotherapy or in combination regimens with other cell factors in various haematological disorders such as aplastic anaemia. In summary, while many aspects of its use remain to be clarified, rG-CSF must be seen as an exciting advance in therapeutics. It should rapidly find an important place as an adjunct to cancer chemotherapy, and also appears to have substantial potential in a number of other neutropenic conditions which are currently difficult to treat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / pharmacology*
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neutropenia / drug therapy*
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor