Infusions of ex vivo-expanded (EXE) mobilized blood cells have been explored to enhance haematopoietic recovery following high dose chemotherapy (HDT). However, prior studies have not consistently demonstrated improvements in trilineage haematopoietic recovery. Three cohorts of three patients with breast cancer received three cycles of repetitive HDT supported by either unmanipulated (UM) and/or EXE cells. Efficacy was assessed by an internal comparison of each patient's consecutive HDT cycles, and to 106 historical UM infusions. Twenty-one cycles were supported by EXE cells and six by UM cells alone. Infusions of EXE cells resulted in fewer days with an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) <0.1 x 10(9)/l (median 2 vs. 4 d, P = 0.002) and 3 d faster ANC recovery to >0.1 x 10(9)/l (median 5 vs. 8 d, P = 0.0002). This resulted in a major reduction in the incidence of febrile neutropenia compared with UM cycles (0% vs. 83%; P = 0.008) and in 66% of historical UM cycles (P = 0.01) and a marked reduction in hospital re-admission. There were also fewer platelet transfusions required (43% vs. 100%; P = 0.009). We conclude that EXE cells enhance both neutrophil and platelet recovery and reduce febrile neutropenia, platelet transfusion and hospital re-admission.