A review of the genetic and long-term effects of G-CSF injections in healthy donors: a reassuring lack of evidence for the development of haematological malignancies

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2015 Mar;50(3):334-40. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2014.278. Epub 2015 Jan 19.


In 2007 the WMDA responded to the publication of two manuscripts suggesting a causal link between G-CSF and myeloid malignancies in healthy donors by convening an international symposium to examine this issue. At the time, registries reviewed the long-term follow-up of their healthy donors, which suggested no excess of leukaemia in PBSC donors compared with BM donors. Although the evidence for an increased risk of malignancy in healthy donors was felt to be weak, it could not be excluded. The WMDA, therefore, issued a statement, to be included in all donor consent forms, stating that it was unknown whether G-CSF increased or decreased the risk of later developing cancer. In 2012, with 5 years of additional donor follow-up and the results of several genetic studies now available, the clinical working group of the WMDA again reviewed the data. On the basis of an assessment of a continuing lack of evidence for an increased risk of malignancy in donors receiving G-CSF, the WMDA has re-issued a more reassuring statement. The revised statement was circulated to all WMDA member registries in late 2012 to replace the existing statement in consent forms, which now conclusively states that, 'Studies following large numbers of unrelated donors have shown that the risk of developing cancer within several years after the use of G-CSF is not increased compared with donors not receiving G-CSF'. Herein we review the evidence on which this statement is based.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / administration & dosage*
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / adverse effects*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Tissue Donors


  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor