Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) patterns of use in cancer patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy

Mi Rim Choi, Craig A. Solid, Victoria M. Chia, Anne H. Blaes, John H. Page, Richard Barron, Thomas J. Arneson

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16 Scopus citations


Purpose: Febrile neutropenia (FN) is a common and serious complication of myelosuppressive chemotherapy. Guidelines recommend primary granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSF) prophylaxis (PPG) in patients with a high risk (HR, >20 %) of developing FN. We performed a retrospective analysis using a subset of the Medicare 5 % database to assess patterns of G-CSF use and FN occurrence among elderly cancer patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy. Methods: Chemotherapy courses for patients aged 65+years were identified; only the first course was used for this analysis. Using clinical guidelines, chemotherapy regimens were classified as HR or intermediate risk (IR) for FN. The first administration of G-CSF was classified as either PPG (within the first 5 days of the first cycle), secondary prophylaxis, or reactive. Results: Twelve thousand seven hundred seven courses across five tumor types were classified as having a HR or IR regimen. G-CSF was used in 24.5-73.8 % of patients receiving a HR FN regimen, with the highest use in breast cancer or NHL. Except for breast cancer (where PPG was used in 52.1 %), PPG was given in less than half of patients receiving a HR regimen. Depending on the tumor type, 4.8-22.6 % of patients with a HR regimen had a neutropenia-related hospitalization. Conclusions: Guidelines recommend PPG with HR FN regimens and older age (>65 years), an important risk factor for developing severe neutropenic complications. However, our results show that in this elderly population, PPG was not routinely used (range 4.8-52.1 %) in patients receiving HR FN regimens. Careful attention to FN risk factors, including chemotherapy regimen and patient age, is needed when planning treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1619-1628
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors thank Adrine Chung (Chronic Disease Research Group) for project management. This study was supported by a research contract from Amgen Inc, Thousand Oaks, CA Conflict of interest CS and TJA are employed by the Chronic Disease Research Group. MRC, VMC, JHP, and RB are employed by and are shareholders of Amgen Inc. AHB reports no conflicts of interest.


  • Elderly cancer patients
  • G-CSF
  • G-CSF patterns of use
  • Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor
  • Supportive care
  • Treatment patterns


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