To elucidate the potential influence of stimulating bone marrow before cell-cycle-dependent irradiation, we sought to determine overall survival in mice receiving total-body irradiation (TBI) when administered granulocyte stimulating factor (G-CSF) at different time points. Gender differences were also studied. C57/BL/6J mice, aged 9–14 weeks, received 8 Gy TBI in a perspex cage using a linear accelerator. In each of five different experiments, three groups were studied: 1. one control group receiving TBI only; 2. one group treated with filgrastim [500 lg/kg subcutaneously/intraperitoneally (s.c./i.p.)] the day before TBI, followed by daily filgrastim injections postirradiation (1–5 days); and 3. one group treated with daily filgrastim injections only post-TBI (1–5 days). Each experimental group included male and female mice. Survival of the mice was monitored daily, and mice were euthanized when their condition deteriorated. A total of 293 mice were monitored for at least 37 days post-TBI. Control mice that received 8 Gy TBI showed a significant gender difference, with a median survival of 22 days in females and 17 days in males. Addition of G-CSF, irrespective of pre- or postirradiation, significantly improved survival, but in males the improvement was significantly better when G-CSF was not given before TBI. Improved survival in females was independent of the order of administration of GCSF. Multiple filgrastim injections were more effective than a single injection, and s.c. administration was not better than i.p. In conclusion, these findings indicate that male mice are more sensitive to TBI than females. Filgrastim improved survival in both genders irrespective of whether given pre- or postirradiation, but in males the improvement was significantly less if an injection was given before irradiation. These results suggest that, to prevent toxicity most effectively, GCSF should not be given before cytotoxic therapy. While a completely different experimental model was used here, these results may also be extrapolated to indicate that endocrine cell-cycle suppression therapy should not be given before or during cytotoxic therapy of hormone-dependent tumors (e.g., breast and prostate cancer), thus a reduction in the efficacy of cell-cycle-dependent therapy can be prevented.

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