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Gynecol Oncol. 2004 Oct;95(1):145-51.

Recombinant human erythropoietin as an adjunct to radiation therapy and cisplatin for stage IIB-IVA carcinoma of the cervix: a Southwest Oncology Group study.

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University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.



The survival of cervix cancer patients is associated with their hemoglobin (Hgb) level during radiotherapy. The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) conducted a phase II trial to determine whether recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) safely corrects anemia during chemoradiotherapy for cervix cancer.


Patients had stage IIB-IVA cervix cancer and a Hgb between 8.0 and 12.5 g/dl. All patients received rHuEPO thrice weekly and oral iron starting 10-15 days before their 5-week course of whole pelvic irradiation and weekly cisplatin followed by intracavitary brachytherapy.


Fifty-three patients from 26 institutions received the protocol treatment. The mean Hgb was 10.4 +/- 1.3 g/dl on the first day of rHuEPO administration (baseline), 11.0 +/- 1.6 g/dl on the first day of chemoradiotherapy, 11.6 +/- 1.9 g/dl at the midpoint of chemoradiotherapy, and 11.8 +/- 2.2 g/dl at the end of chemoradiotherapy. The target Hgb level of 12.5 g/dl was achieved in 40% of patients (95% CI 26-56%) by the midpoint of Chemoradiotheraphy. Change in Hgb was associated with baseline serum iron (P = 0.008) and transferrin saturation (P = 0.05) levels, but not with baseline Hgb or serum ferritin, or patient age. Seven patients developed deep vein thrombosis. Two-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 43% and overall survival (OS) was 51%. Survival was significantly associated with Hgb level at the end of chemoradiotherapy, but not with the baseline Hgb level.


rHuEPO and iron gradually increased Hgb levels in anemic women with local advanced cervix cancer during chemoradiotherapy. There was a higher than expected incidence of deep vein thrombosis. The progression-free and overall survival rates were lower than reported for women with normal Hgb levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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