The combined effects of five cytokines; recombinant human (rHu) granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), rHu granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), rHu interleukin-1β (IL-1β), rHu interleukin-3 (IL-3), and rHu interleukin-6 (IL-6) on blast colony formation in methylcellulose by leukemic blast progenitors from 10 patients with acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML) were studied. Combination of G-CSF, GM-CSF, IL-1β, and IL-3 stimulated maximum blast colony formation in 9 patients. Further addition of IL-6 reduced the combined effect of the four cytokines on blast colony formation. IL-6 regulates the proliferation of leukemic blast progenitors and may play an important role in the regulation of hematopoiesis.

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