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Med Oncol. 2005;22(2):161-8.

Anemia in cervical cancer patients: implications for iron supplementation therapy.

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Division of Clinical Research, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología, UNAM, Mexico City.


Iron deficiency and tumor bleeding are common causes of anemia in cervical cancer. Anemia has a negative prognostic influence, and its correction is thought to improve prognosis; therefore, most patients are treated with either transfusion and/or erythropoietin. At present little is known about the value of iron stores replenishment to increase hemoglobin levels in this setting. Untreated cervical cancer patients with a hemoglobin <12 g/dL were randomized to intramuscular iron or to transfusion. Iron dose was calculated according to [weight (kg)x(15--actual Hb)x2.4]+500 and administered by injections of 200 mg daily. In both arms, patients who did not achieve at least 10 g/dL hemoglobin before or during chemoradiation were transfused. Patients received standard pelvic radiation plus six weekly doses of cisplatin. Hematic counts were performed before starting chemoradiation and weekly thereafter. Fifteen patients were studied; six were assigned to iron and nine to transfusion. Mean basal hemoglobin levels were 9.9 and 9.5 g/dL respectively. Total iron, saturation index, binding capacity, and ferritin were within normal limits, although there was a high variability among the patients. The mean total dose of iron administered was 1229 mg. Two weeks after randomization, hemoglobin increased to 10.9 and 10.2 g/dL respectively. At wk 1 of treatment and thereafter, levels were higher in the iron arm, in whom the values were close or higher than 12 g/dL (p=0.03). The median number of units transfused were 0 in the iron group and 2 in the transfusion (p=0.02) arm. Parenteral iron seems to be effective to increase hemoglobin in cervical cancer patients.

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