A medication, Plinabulin, that seems to successfully treat chemotherapy-induced neutropenia is currently being investigated in the clinical trial, it might also have an anti-cancer benefit. Benefits and risks associated with it were discussed with patients of different types of cancer.
Plinabulin is a rather small molecule which was isolated from bacteria and then slightly modified. It was basically tested as an agent of anti-cancer in lung cancer but later it was discovered that it not only possessed an anti-cancer effect but was also responsible in decreasing the incidence of neutropenia.
Around five years ago, tests started being conducted on plinabulin in a clinical trial for testing it against the standard of care that is currently G-CSF, or pegfilgrastim (Neulasta, Neupogen). It was noted that when given on the same day as that of chemotherapy, with plinabulin, patients did not feel the bone pain that they noticed with G-CSF.
Plinabulin was being tested primarily in the common tumors such as breast, lung and also prostate cancers.
It was causing mild and only temporary hypertension in the doses being used. But this seemed to be the major side effect uncovered.
Neutropenia is a negative side effect of majority of the chemotherapy drugs that are in use, and it is dependent on the dosage. For most of the chemotherapy procedures, the higher the dose, the higher the affects of neutropenia.
There is a balance with the dosing which is in common between the efficacy and the side effects. Researchers hope that by utilizing the standard dose of chemotherapy, they can prevent neutropenia along with its complications.
Neutropenia reduces the ability of the body to defend itself against infections caused by bacteria. Sometimes these infections can result in sepsis, hypotension, shock, and even death, although that is quite rare.