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Semin Oncol. 2002 Jun;29(3 Suppl 8):81-7.

The use of epoetin alfa in chemotherapy patients: a consistent profile of efficacy and safety.

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Clinical Research and Development, Genta Inc, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922, USA.


Epoetin alfa has been in use for over a decade to increase hemoglobin in patients with cancer who develop chemotherapy-associated anemia. Early placebo-controlled, randomized studies, as well as recent large, community-based trials in thousands of patients, have consistently shown recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO, epoetin alfa) to be effective and safe in the treatment of chemotherapy-associated anemia. Patients experienced an improved quality of life (QOL) related to the magnitude of the hemoglobin increase. As measured by a Linear Analog Scale Assessment, mean energy level, ability to do daily activities, and overall QOL improved significantly in patients who received epoetin alfa. The improvement in QOL was similar when anemia-specific instruments (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anemia) were used. A large community-based trial has demonstrated that the more convenient once-weekly dosing schedule resulted in good efficacy and safety profiles. A recent double-blind placebo-controlled study that compared the efficacy of epoetin alfa versus placebo in patients receiving nonplatinum-based chemotherapy has confirmed epoetin alfa's efficacy, safety, and beneficial QOL effects. These findings should challenge current anemia management practices and encourage aggressive treatment of anemia in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

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