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STUDY QUESTION: Does administration of recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor (rhG-CSF) in the first trimester improve pregnancy outcomes, among women with a history of unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss? SUMMARY ANSWER: rhG-CSF administered in the first trimester of pregnancy did not improve outcomes among women with a history of unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: The only previous randomized controlled study of granulocyte colony stimulating factor in recurrent miscarriage in 68 women with unexplained primary recurrent miscarriage found a statistically significant reduction in miscarriage and improvement in live birth rates. A further four observational studies where G-CSF was used in a recurrent miscarriage population were identified in the literature, two of which confirmed statistically significant increase in clinical pregnancy and live birth rates. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial involving 150 women with a history of unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss was conducted at 21 sites with established recurrent miscarriage clinics in the United Kingdom between 23 June 2014 and 05 June 2016. The study was coordinated by University of Birmingham, UK. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: One hundred and fifty women with a history of unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss: 76 were randomized to rhG-CSF and 74 to placebo. Daily subcutaneous injections of recombinant human granulocyte - colony stimulating factor 130 μg or identical appearing placebo from as early as three to five weeks of gestation for a maximum of 9 weeks. The trial used central randomization with allocation concealment. The primary outcome was clinical pregnancy at 20 weeks of gestation, as demonstrated by an ultrasound scan. Secondary outcomes included miscarriages, livebirth, adverse events, stillbirth, neonatal birth weight, changes in clinical laboratory variables following study drug exposure, major congenital anomalies, preterm births and incidence of anti-drug antibody formation. Analysis was by intention to treat. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: A total of 340 participants were screened for eligibility of which 150 women were randomized. 76 women (median age, 32[IQR, 29-34] years; mean BMI, 26.3[SD, 4.2]) and 74 women (median age, 31[IQR, 26-33] years; mean BMI, 25.8[SD, 4.2]) were randomized to placebo. All women were followed-up to primary outcome, and beyond to live birth. The clinical pregnancy rate at 20 weeks, as well as the live birth rate, was 59.2% (45/76) in the rhG-CSF group, and 64.9% (48/74) in the placebo group, giving a relative risk of 0.9 (95% CI: 0.7-1.2; P = 0.48). There was no evidence of a significant difference between the groups for any of the secondary outcomes. Adverse events (AEs) occurred in 52 (68.4%) participants in rhG-CSF group and 43 (58.1%) participants in the placebo group. Neonatal congenital anomalies were observed in 1/46 (2.1%) of babies in the rhG-CSF group versus 1/49 (2.0%) in the placebo group (RR of 0.9; 95% CI: 0.1-13.4; P = 0.93). LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: This trial was conducted in women diagnosed with unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss and therefore no screening tests (commercially available) were performed for immune dysfunction related pregnancy failure/s. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: To our knowledge, this is the first multicentre study and largest randomized clinical trial to investigate the efficacy and safety of granulocyte human colony stimulating factor in women with recurrent miscarriages. Unlike the only available single center RCT, our trial showed no significant increase in clinical pregnancy or live births with the use of rhG-CSF in the first trimester of pregnancy. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This study was sponsored and supported by Nora Therapeutics, Inc., 530 Lytton Avenue, 2nd Floor, Palo Alto, CA 94301, USA. Darryl Carter was the co-founder and VP of research, Nora Therapeutics, Inc. and held shares in the company. He holds a patent for the use of recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor to reduce unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss. Mark Joing, Paul Kwon and Jeff Tong were or are employees of Nora Therapeutics, Inc. No other potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: EUDRACT No: 2014-000084-40; Identifier: NCT02156063. TRIAL REGISTRATION DATE: 31 Mar 2014. DATE OF FIRST PATIENT’S ENROLMENT: 23 Jun 2014.

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Reprod

Publication Date





424 - 432


cytokine, immune mediated miscarriages, neutropenia, recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor, recurrent pregnancy loss, semi-allogenic fetus, unexplained recurrent miscarriages