The anemia of malignancy is common and is related to several etiologic factors, a major one being relative erythropoietin (Epo) deficiency. Blood transfusions, the traditional therapy, provides a quick solution but is associated with complications. This was the rationale for recombinant human Epo (rHuEpo) in the treatment of anemia of cancer. Over the past few years, about 20 publications have reported the results of rHuEpo in the treatment of cancer-associated anemia in more than 850 patients with a variety of malignancies. In general, more than half of the patients responded with a significant increase in their hemoglobin level, a decrease in blood transfusion requirements, and an improved performance status and quality of life. About 4 weeks are required till the onset of effect. The hormone is well tolerated with minimal adverse effects and subcutaneous injections appear to be the preferred method of administration. Additional studies will hopefully answer several questions including optimal dosage and duration of treatment, Epo resistance, and the possibility of predicting the response.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Israel Journal of Medical Sciences|
|State||Published - Dec 1996|