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Prague Med Rep. 2006;107(3):281-9.

To give or not to give recombinant EPO to anemia endangered cancer patients.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathomorphology, Collegium Pathologicum, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland. ruahpolin@yahoo.com


EPO is known as an inducer of maturation and proliferation of erythrocytes. Moreover, it favours angiogenesis. In several studies it was encountered that EPO is a trophic agent that mediates survival and inhibits apoptosis of hypoxia affected cells, particularly those which build masses of irregularly vascularized cancers. The main task concerning EPO for oncologists is the choice to give or not to give recombinant EPO to anemia endangered cancer patients. EPO can do the quality of life better and cause recovery from anemia post chemotherapy and radiation of cancer patients. Nevertheless, EPO therapy shortens survival of patients in some cancers, in which antiapoptotic effect of EPO predominates directly in malignant cells. Thus, separately in every type of cancer, therapeutic use of recombinant EPO calls for prior investigations, if EPO signaling causes proliferation of cancer cells by direct stimulation of EPOR positive malignant cells. Unless the proliferative effect of EPO on cancer cells is excluded, its use in the therapy of anemia in cancer patients is not quite safe.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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