Filgrastim may provide a small survival benefit in patients with cancer who are receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy, according to a recent Annals of Oncology study.

Gary Lyman, MD, MPH, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and fellow colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of three placebo-controlled and two non-inferiority clinical trials of filgrastim and pegfilgrastim in patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy.

They measured median overall survival, six- and 12-month survival rates and hazard ratios in patients receiving at least 1 dose of filgrastim, pegfilgrastim or placebo.

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The researchers found that median overall survival in patients with lung cancer receiving filgrastim was 14.1 months compared to 11.1 months with placebo.

Patients who crossed over to filgrastim from placebo after one cycle had a median overall survival of 16.9 months.

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However, median overall survival was unable to be estimated in at least one treatment arm in other studies due to a small number of overall survival events.

Where they were estimable, six- and 12-month survival rates were generally greater in patients receiving filgrastim or pegfilgrastim compared to placebo.

“Overall survival point estimates were greater among patients receiving filgrastim versus placebo, but the differences were not statistically significant,” the authors concluded.


  1. Lyman, G. H., et al. “The Effect of Filgrastim or Pegfilgrastim on Survival Outcomes of Patients With Cancer Receiving Myelosuppressive Chemotherpay.” Annals of Oncology. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv174. [epub ahead of print]. April 7, 2015.