Management of Anemia in Cancer Patients

Aknar Calabrich; Artur Katz


Future Oncol. 2011;7(4):507-517. 

In This Article


The management of anemia related to cancer treatment has been the subject of several clinical studies. In particular, studies on ESAs account for most clinical trials in this field published to date. To a lesser extent, the available studies have investigated the role of iron supplementation and blood transfusion. The effectiveness of most of these treatment modalities has been proven in several trials; however, their safety and comparative effectiveness are still matters of discussion among researchers. Some studies have demonstrated that the use of ESAs increases the risk of thrombosis and, consequently, the risk of death. However, this increased risk is not observed when the treatment of anemia in cancer patients follows the recommendations of the guidelines that are currently available. Therefore, it is recommended that these guidelines continue to be rigorously followed in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced anemia. Intravenous iron is emerging as an important adjunct in the treatment of anemia in cancer patients, but there is a lack of standardization in its use. Without a doubt, recommendations concerning the optimal formulations, doses and schedules of interventions used to treat cancer-related anemia still need further assessment in prospective and well-controlled studies.


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