Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Oncol. 2005 Dec 20;23(36):9377-86.

Efficacy and safety analysis of epoetin alfa in patients with small-cell lung cancer: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Author information

  • 1Forsyth Regional Cancer Center, Winston-Salem, NC 27103, USA.



This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N93-004) evaluated the effects of epoetin alfa on tumor response to chemotherapy and survival in patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC).


Adult patients with hemoglobin < or = 14.5 g/dL starting chemotherapy received epoetin alfa 150 U/kg or placebo subcutaneously 3 times weekly until 3 weeks after completion of chemotherapy. Survival was assessed for 3 years. The primary end point was the proportion of patients with complete or partial response after three chemotherapy cycles.


The trial was terminated prematurely after 224 of a projected 400 patients were accrued. Baseline characteristics were similar between groups. Epoetin alfa and placebo patients (n = 109 and n = 115, respectively) had mean baseline hemoglobin of 12.8 g/dL and 13.0 g/dL, respectively. Overall tumor response was similar between the epoetin alfa and placebo groups after three chemotherapy cycles (72% and 67%, respectively; 95% CI of difference, -6% to 18%) and after completion of chemotherapy (60% and 56%, respectively; 95% CI of difference, -9% to 17%). Epoetin alfa and placebo groups had similar median overall survival (10.5 and 10.4 months, respectively) and overall mortality (91.7% and 87.8%, respectively; hazard ratio, 1.172; 95% CI, 0.887 to 1.549; P = .264). Hemoglobin was maintained in the prechemotherapy range in epoetin alfa patients, but decreased substantially in placebo patients. Fewer epoetin alfa patients than placebo patients required transfusion.


These results suggest that in newly diagnosed patients with SCLC epoetin alfa does not affect tumor response to chemotherapy or survival. However, the early trial closure makes these conclusions preliminary.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center