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April 8, 2005

Report on Meta-analysis of "Effectiveness of anti-anemia drug in treatment of cancer patients"

Topics: Clinical Pharmacology

In a meta-analysis to determine the association between erythropoietin treatment and hematologic response, blood transfusions, adverse events, and overall survival, it has been found that erythropoietin treatment for anemia may reduce the risk for blood transfusions and improve hematologic response in cancer patients, but evidence that the treatment affects survival is inconclusive(meta-analysis of 27 randomized, controlled trials published between 1993 and May 2002. The trials had compared erythropoietin treatment versus no treatment in a total of 3,287 adult cancer patients).

(...) likelihood of needing a blood transfusion was lower in patients who received erythropoietin treatment than in those who did not. Erythropoietin-treated patients with very low baseline hemoglobin levels were more likely to have a hematologic response than untreated patients. The risk for thromboembolic events was similar in both groups.

(...) researchers also found suggestive but inconclusive evidence that erythropoietin may improve overall survival. However, this contrasts with the results of two recently published randomized controlled trials--which were not included in this analysis because they were published after the cutoff point for inclusion in the systematic review--in which patients treated with erythropoietin had worse survival than untreated patients.

(...) "In view of the inconclusive evidence presently available, our results suggest that erythropoietin should not be used to increase overall survival outside clinical trials,"

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Journal Source

Related reading:

Effectiveness of erythropoietin in the treatment of patients with malignancies: methods and preliminary results of a Cochrane review.

The impact of anaemia on outcome in cancer.

Anaemia and radiation therapy

Hypoxia and anemia: factors in decreased sensitivity to radiation therapy and chemotherapy?

Posted by Richard at April 8, 2005 11:38 AM

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