Human cyclic neutropenia (CN) is a rare haematological disorder characterized by regular fluctuation in the serial count of blood neutrophils. The oscillations occur at subnormal levels with a stable 3-week period. To reduce the risk of serious infections during the severe neutropenic nadir phases (less than 0.25 X 109 neutrophils/l) patients are usually treated with recombinant growth factors. Compared with G-CSF, which has been shown to enhance the amplitudes substantially, the response to GM-CSF is poor: neutrophil numbers are not amplified, the cycles remain unchanged or are dampened. However, two cases with a modest neutrophil increase have been reported in the literature. In a recently published clinical study the different effects of GM-CSF and G-CSF application have been investigated in the same patients. Based on a mathematical model of CN we previously proposed, the detailed neutrophil data measured in this study are analysed by simulation. The contrasting clinical results can be quantitatively explained by the model concept of regulatory control together with possible individual feedback defects, i.e. abnormally reduced mitotic responsiveness of granulopoietic progenitor cells to GM-CSF and G-CSF.