sargramostim, Leukine

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained

GENERIC NAME: sargramostim

BRAND NAME: Leukine

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Sargramostim is a man-made form of the naturally-occurring protein, granulocyte, macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). GM-CSF is produced in the body by the immune system and stimulates the formation of white blood cells, including the granulocyte and the macrophage. Granulocytes and macrophages take part in the inflammatory reaction. They are responsible for detecting and destroying harmful bacteria and some fungi. Sargramostim belongs to a class of drugs called colony-stimulating factors because of their ability to stimulate cells in the bone marrow to multiply and form colonies. Sargramostim is man-made. It is a product of the genetic engineering of genes from fungi and is produced by recombinant DNA technology in bacteria. Other colony stimulating factors are epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit) that stimulate the formation of red blood cells and filgrastim (Neupogen) that also stimulates the formation of granulocytes and macrophages. The FDA approved sargramostim in March 1991.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Sargramostim is used to increase the number of white blood cells when the white blood cell count is low, a condition called neutropenia. A reduced level of white blood cells causes an increased susceptibility to infections. Sargramostim is used in cancer patients with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and Hodgkins lymphoma who have received a bone marrow transplant to rapidly increase the white blood cell count. It also is used to manage patients with acute myelogenous leukemia over the age of 55 years who develop neutropenia because of chemotherapy. Sargramostim also may be used in cancer patients or healthy patients who have low white blood cell counts to boost the counts and thereby improve the bone marrow they will be donating for use in bone marrow transplantation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/24/2015

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