Clinical transplantation

Pegfilgrastim vs. filgrastim for supportive care after autologous stem cell transplantation: can we decide?

PMID 22035044


Granulocyte-colony-stimulating factors are helpful for the support of patients receiving autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, resulting in faster neutrophil recovery and lower incidence of febrile neutropenia (FN). Our aim was to evaluate the use of pegfilgrastim vs. filgrastim with regard to absolute neutrophil count (ANC) recovery, risk, and duration of FN and length of hospital stay. Mean difference was the summary effect for continuous data, and odds ratio for binary data, using random-effects modeling. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Registry of Randomized Controlled Trials were included in the search. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), case-control studies, and studies with historical control group for filgrastim were eligible. Of the initial 114 studies screened, 12 studies were analyzed (four were RCTs, including one phase III trial). The use of pegfilgrastim resulted in a one d gain in ANC recovery (mean difference -0.82, 95% CI -1.07 to -0.57, p < 0.001) and duration of FN (-0.67, 95% CI -1.28 to -0.06, p < 0.001) but had no effect on the risk of FN or length of stay. Pegfilgrastim was more expensive (baseline marginal cost €116.97, p < 0.001), which was largely determined by the treatment duration and pegfilgrastim cost. Non-randomized setting attenuated the effect on duration of FN whereas delayed onset of filgrastim injections (to pegfilgrastim) overestimated the protective effect on the risk of FN. Both drugs are at least equally effective, though methodology and disease stratification in published trials warrant further improvement.