SEIFEM 2017: from real life to an agreement on the use of granulocyte transfusions and colony-stimulating factors for prophylaxis and treatment of infectious complications in patients with hematologic malignant disorders

Expert Rev Hematol. 2018 Feb;11(2):155-168. doi: 10.1080/17474086.2018.1420472. Epub 2018 Jan 3.


The rapid spread of severe infections mainly due to resistant pathogens, justifies the search for therapies aiming to restore immune functions severely compromised in patients with hematologic malignancies. Areas covered: The present review summarizes the current knowledge on the role of granulocyte transfusions and colony-stimulating factors as treatment strategy for hematologic patients with serious infectious complications. In addition, a survey among 21 hematologic centers, to evaluate the clinical practice for the use of G-CSF originator and biosimilars was performed. Expert commentary: Granulocyte transfusions with a target dose of at least 1.5-3 × 108 cells/kg, may be considered as an approach to bridge the gap between marrow suppression and recovery of granulocytes. G-CSF shortens the period of neutropenia, the hospitalization, the use of antibiotics and the rate of febrile neutropenia (FN) in adult and pediatric patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and in adults with acute myeloid leukemia where these advantages nevertheless, did not translate into a clinical benefit. G-CSF biosimilar showed equivalence or non-inferiority to filgrastim. There are no data supporting the use of GM-CSF, eltrombopag and erythropoietin for preventing or treating infectious complications in patients with hematologic disorders.

Keywords: Hematologic malignancies; colony-stimulating factors; granulocyte transfusions; infectious complications; invasive fungal infections.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Granulocytes*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms* / complications
  • Hematologic Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infections* / etiology
  • Infections* / therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / complications
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / therapy
  • Leukocyte Transfusion*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin* / complications
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin* / therapy
  • Male
  • Neutropenia / complications
  • Neutropenia / therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors