Filgrastim use in patients receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer-a survey of physicians and patients

Support Care Cancer. 2018 Jul;26(7):2323-2331. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4074-8. Epub 2018 Feb 6.


Purpose: Despite its widespread use as primary febrile neutropenia (FN) prophylaxis during chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer, the optimal duration of daily filgrastim is unknown. Using the minimum effective duration may improve patient comfort and acceptability while reducing costs. Yet, suboptimal dosing may also negatively impact patient care. A survey was performed to obtain information regarding current practices for granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) use.

Methods: Canadian oncologists involved in the treatment of breast cancer patients, as well as patients who had received neo/adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, were surveyed. Standardized surveys were designed to collect information on perceived reasons for G-CSF use and current practices.

Results: The surveys were completed by 38/50 (76%) physicians and 95/97 (98%) patients. For physicians, there was variability in the choice of chemotherapy regimens that required G-CSF support, the dose of filgrastim prescribed and the number of days prescribed. The majority of physicians reported using 5 (31.6%), 7 (47.4%), or 10 (13.2%) days of therapy. Nearly half of the patients (46.3%) recalled having experienced at least one of the chemotherapy-related complications including chemotherapy delays, dose reductions, and FN. While on filgrastim, 66.3% of patients reported myalgia and bone pain. Both physicians and patients expressed interest in participating in clinical trials designed to optimize the duration of filgrastim administration.

Conclusions: Significant variability in practice exists with respect to filgrastim administration. Definitive studies are therefore required to standardize and improve care, as this has the potential to impact treatment outcomes, patient quality of life, and cost savings.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Filgrastim; G-CSF support.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Filgrastim / pharmacology
  • Filgrastim / therapeutic use*
  • Hematologic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hematologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Patients
  • Physicians / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Hematologic Agents
  • Filgrastim