Acute myeloid leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome in randomized controlled clinical trials of cancer chemotherapy with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor: a systematic review

J Clin Oncol. 2010 Jun 10;28(17):2914-24. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.25.8723. Epub 2010 Apr 12.


Purpose: To evaluate the risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and overall mortality in patients receiving chemotherapy with or without granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted.

Methods: Electronic databases searched through October 2008 identified 3,794 articles for initial screening. Eligibility included solid tumor or lymphoma patients randomly assigned to chemotherapy with or without G-CSF support, > or = 2 years of follow-up, and reporting AML/MDS or all second malignancies. Dual blinded data extraction was performed. Relative risk (RR) and absolute risk (AR) estimates +/- 95% CIs were calculated by the Mantel-Haenszel method.

Results: In the 25 eligible RCTs, 6,058 and 6,746 patients were randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy with and without initial G-CSF support, respectively. At mean and median follow-up across studies of 60 and 53 months, respectively, AML/MDS was reported in 22 control patients and 43 G-CSF-treated patients, with an estimated RR of 1.92 (95% CI, 1.19 to 3.07; P = .007) and AR increase of 0.41% (95% CI, 0.10% to 0.72%; P = .009). Deaths were reported in 1,845 patients randomly assigned to G-CSF and in 2,099 controls, for estimates of RR and AR decrease of 0.897 (95% CI, 0.857 to 0.938; P < .001) and 3.40% (95% CI, 2.01% to 4.80%; P < .001), respectively. Greater RR reduction for mortality was seen for both larger studies (P = .05) and greater chemotherapy dose-intensity (P = .012).

Conclusion: Delivered chemotherapy dose-intensity and risk of AML/MDS are increased but all-cause mortality is decreased in patients receiving chemotherapy with G-CSF support. Greater reductions in mortality were observed with greater chemotherapy dose-intensity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor