Management of Anemia in Cancer Patients

Aknar Calabrich; Artur Katz


Future Oncol. 2011;7(4):507-517. 

In This Article

Future Perspective

The negative impact on cancer outcomes using currently available ESA guidelines, the optimal threshold hemoglobin level for initiation of ESA therapy or blood transfusion and the target hemoglobin level have not been definitively established. Some ongoing Phase III trials (NCT00338286 and NCT00858364) are evaluating the impact of ESAs on tumor progression for treating anemia according to label guidance in patients with metastatic cancer who are receiving standard chemotherapy, and a Phase II trial (NCT01116479) aims to establish the relationship between different levels of hemoglobin and clinical symptoms, as well as the impact of blood transfusion on different hemoglobin thresholds.

Other ongoing trials (NCT01168505 and NCT01145638) are also trying to determine the impact of iron on preventing and treating chemotherapy-induced anemia in cancer patients.

Although there is no available artificial substance that can replace the complex composition of blood, research efforts have been directed towards developing products with the oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells. Two major categories of oxygen carriers currently under development for use in humans are hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers and perfluorocarbons. However, the potential side effects and short half-lives of these substances limit their use in cancer patients.


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