Up to a third of autologous transplantation candidates fail to mobilize hematopoietic progenitors into the peripheral blood with chemotherapy and/or growth factor treatment, thus requiring innovative mobilization strategies. In total, 20 cancer patients unable to provide adequate PBPC products after a previous mobilization attempt were treated with ancestim (20 microg/kg/day s.c.) and filgrastim (10 microg/kg/day s.c.). In 16 patients, the pre-study mobilization was with filgrastim alone. Eight patients underwent single large volume leukapheresis (LVL) and 12 multiple standard volume leukaphereses (SVL) in both mobilizations. Pairwise comparison of peripheral blood CD34(+) cell concentrations on the day of first leukapheresis failed to document synergism - median CD34(+)/microl of 3.2 (<0.1 to 15.4) and 4.5 (1-28.56) for the pre-study and on-study mobilizations (P = 0.79, sign test), and 4.2 (<0.1-15.4) and 5 (1-28.56), respectively, for the 16 patients previously mobilized with filgrastim alone (P = 1, sign test). The number of CD34(+) cells/kg collected per unit of blood volume (BV) processed was similar in both mobilizations - median 0.1 x 10(6)/kg/BV and 0.09 x 10(6)/kg/BV, respectively (P = 1, sign test). In this phase II study, the combination of ancestim and filgrastim did not allow adequate PBPC mobilization and collection in patients with a previous suboptimal PBPC collection.