The family of glycoproteins known as the hematopoietic growth factors (HGFs) plays a major role in the proliferation, differentiation, and survival of primitive hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, as well as in functional activation of some mature cells. These effects are mediated by high affinity binding of the HGFs to specific receptors expressed on the surface of the target cells.
The major toxicities of the HGFs, the history of their identification, and an overview of their uses will be presented here. Their uses for specific clinical indications are presented separately. (See 'Clinical uses of hematopoietic growth factors' below.)
The function of specific HGFs in the development of blood cell lineages is discussed in separate topic reviews:
●Stem cell factor (see "Overview of hematopoiesis and stem cell function")
●Erythropoietin (see "Regulation of erythropoiesis")