Introduction: To investigate the effects of G-CSF or GM-CSF therapy in non-neutropenic patients with sepsis.
Methods: A systematic literature search of Medline, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials was conducted using specific search terms. A manual review of references was also performed. Eligible studies were randomized control trials (RCTs) that compared granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) or granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) therapy with placebo for the treatment of sepsis in adults. Main outcome measures were all-cause mortality at 14 days and 28 days after initiation of G-CSF or GM-CSF therapy, in-hospital mortality, reversal rate from infection, and adverse events.
Results: Twelve RCTs with 2,380 patients were identified. In regard to 14-day mortality, a total of 9 death events occurred among 71 patients (12.7%) in the treatment group compared with 13 events among 67 patients (19.4%) in the placebo groups. Meta-analysis showed there was no significant difference in 28-day mortality when G-CSF or GM-CSF were compared with placebo (relative risks (RR) = 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.79 to 1.11, P = 0.44; P for heterogeneity = 0.31, I2 = 15%). Compared with placebo, G-CSF or GM-CSF therapy did not significantly reduce in-hospital mortality (RR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.69 to 1.36, P = 0.86; P for heterogeneity = 0.80, I2 = 0%). However, G-CSF or GM-CSF therapy significantly increased the reversal rate from infection (RR = 1.34, 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.62, P = 0.002; P for heterogeneity = 0.47, I2 = 0%). No significant difference was observed in adverse events between groups (RR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.70 to 1.23, P = 0.62; P for heterogeneity = 0.03, I2 = 58%). Sensitivity analysis by excluding one trial did not significantly change the results of adverse events (RR = 1.05, 95% CI: 0.84 to 1.32, P = 0.44; P for heterogeneity = 0.17, I2 = 36%).
Conclusions: There is no current evidence supporting the routine use of G-CSF or GM-CSF in patients with sepsis. Large prospective multicenter clinical trials investigating monocytic HLA-DR (mHLA-DR)-guided G-CSF or GM-CSF therapy in patients with sepsis-associated immunosuppression are warranted.