Recombinant human growth factors are expected to have a significant impact on the use of allogeneic blood components. For example, recombinant human erythropoietin has had a significant impact on blood transfusion in renal dialysis patients. Likewise, myeloid growth factors have reduced infections and hospital stay by promoting hematologic recovery after high-dose ablative chemotherapy. The high costs of these agents mandate that their use be limited to settings where they are clinically indicated. This review discusses the emerging clinical data to help establish guidelines for the use of hematopoietic growth factors. Comments regarding the myeloid growth factors are restricted to their emerging role in stem cell transplantation, because this clinical setting is anticipated to have the greatest impact in the use of allogeneic blood components in oncology.
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