The use of hematopoietic growth factors, although well established for the management of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, remains controversial for the treatment of aplastic anemia and inherited bone marrow failure syndromes. The most commonly used factors are granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and erythropoietin. Newer growth factors such as stem cell factor, thrombopoietin, Flt3 ligand, and interleukins have shown promising results in the laboratory, and some have been used in clinical trials. This article reviews the clinical use of old and new hematopoietic growth factors in acquired and inherited bone marrow failure, and discusses emerging concerns about long term toxicity of these factors.
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