Low-dose interleukin-11 in patients with bone marrow failure: Update of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center experience

A. M. Tsimberidou, F. J. Giles, I. Khouri, C. Bueso-Ramos, S. Pilat, D. A. Thomas, J. Cortes, R. Kurzrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: Recombinant interleukin (IL)-11 is a thrombopoietic growth factor. The purpose of this study was to assess the toxicity, safety and efficacy of low-dose recombinant IL-11 in patients with bone marrow failure (BMF). Patients and methods: Patients with BMF due to myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), graft failure, chemotherapy or aplastic anemia (AA) were treated. Patients were required to have a platelet count of <20 × 109/1, or a platelet count of <50 × 109/1 with an absolute neutrophil count <1 × 109/1, or a hemoglobin value <10g/d1. Treatment consisted of daily IL-11 at a dose of 10 μg/kg subcutaneously followed by a 2-week rest period. Two induction courses were given. Responders could receive maintenance therapy. Results: Thirty-three patients (MDS, n = 14; AA, n = 16; prolonged thrombocytopenia following stem cell transplantation or chemotherapy, n=3) were evaluable. Their median age was 58 years (range 5-85). Three patients (9%) had poor risk cytogenetics. Nine patients (27%) responded to IL-11 (six MDS, three AA). Of these, three patients treated with IL-11 alone (n=1) or IL-11 together with other growth factors (n=2) showed multilineage recovery. The median time to response was 0.9 months (range 0.3-11). Factors associated with higher response rates in univariate analysis were age >50 years (P=0.008), diagnosis of MDS versus AA (P=0.025) and creatinine level >1 mg/d1 (P=0.0004). The median response duration was 3 months (range 1.4-34.5+). Amongst responders, the median increment in platelet count was 111 × 109/1 (range 43-165). The most common side-effects were grade 1-2 lower extremity edema, conjunctival injections and fatigue. Grade 3 toxicities included arrhythmia (n=1) and transient ischemic attack (n=1). Ten patients (30%) had no side-effects. Conclusions: Low-dose IL- 11 has activity in patients with BMF and is generally well tolerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokine
  • Growth factor
  • Proliferation
  • Thrombocytopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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