Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial of efficacy and safety of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in liver transplant recipients

Drew J. Winston, Preston F. Foster, Kenneth A. Somberg, Ronald W. Busuttil, Marlon F. Levy, Patricia A. Sheiner, K. Rajender Reddy, Nick Fotheringham, Mitzi Armstrong, Eileen Logan

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40 Scopus citations


Background. Infection and rejection are two common complications after liver transplants. In a preliminary study, administration of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) to liver transplant recipients was associated with a decrease in sepsis episodes, sepsis-related deaths, and rejection compared with a historical control group of patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate further the efficacy of G-CSF in liver transplant patients in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. Methods. Adult patients with a United Network Organ Sharing classification of 1 or 2 were randomized to receive a placebo, 100 μg/day of G-CSF or 300 μg/day of G-CSF. The study drug was started preoperatively and then continued after the transplant for a maximum of 21 days. Patients were evaluated for microbiologically-documented infection, biopsy-proven rejection, number of treatments for rejection, length of stay in the intensive care unit and hospital, graft survival, death, and adverse events. Results. During the first 30 days after the transplant, the median peak white blood cell count was 16.5 x 109/L, 34.6 x 109/L, and 54.8 x 109/L for the placebo, low-dose G-CSF, and high-dose G-CSF patients, respectively. The incidence of infection was 30% in G-CSF patients (34 of 114 patients) and 34% in placebo patients (20 of 58 patients). Except for more nosocomial pneumonias in the G-CSF patients (7 in 114 patients vs. 0 in 58 patients, P=0.056), the types of infections and causative organisms were also similar in both treatment groups. Although the number of treatments for clinically suspected or proven rejection was similar in the G-CSF and placebo patients, biopsy-proven rejection occurred more often in G-CSF patients (34 of 114 patients or 30%) than placebo patients (11 of 58 patients or 19%) (P=0.093). There were no cases of graft loss caused by rejection. G-CSF had no effect on length of stay in the intensive-care unit or hospital. There were 22 G-CSF patients (18%) and 10 placebo patients (15%) who died within 120 days after the transplant. No serious adverse events were attributed to G-CSF. Conclusion. Despite producing substantial increases in the white blood cell count after the transplant, G-CSF had no beneficial effects on infection, rejection, or survival in this study. Biopsy-proven rejection and nosocomial pneumonias were more common in patients treated with G-CSF compared with those taking the placebo. No serious adverse events were attributed to G-CSF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1298-1304
Number of pages7
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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