Granulocyte colony stimulating factors are naturally occurring cytokines which increase the rate of maturation of granulocytes within the bone marrow. They were developed for limited clinical use on the assumption that reducing the severity and duration of the neutropaenia - for example after the administration of chemotherapy - will decrease the risks of infection.
In practice, G-CSF does improve the neutrophil count and may have a role in the management of neutropenia induced by cytotoxic chemotherapy. GM-CSF increases monocytes, eosinophils and neutrophils. There is some evidence that GM-CSF may increase the antibody-dependent cytolysis of some tumour cells.
Other areas of potential use without proven benefit as yet:
Side effects of GM-CSF, less so with G-CSF, include:
Last reviewed 01/2018