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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2019 Mar 7. pii: gfz031. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfz031. [Epub ahead of print]

Are prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitors potential alternative treatments for anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease?

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Department of Nephrology and Dialysis, Alessandro Manzoni Hospital ASST-Lecco, Lecco, Italy.


Prolyl-hydroxylase (PHD) inhibitors (PHD-I) are the most appealing drugs undergoing clinical development for the treatment of anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease. PHD inhibition mimics the exposure of the body to hypoxia and activates the hypoxia-inducible factor system. Among many other pathways, this activation promotes the production of endogenous erythropoietin (EPO) and the absorption and mobilization of iron. PHD-I are given orally and, differing from erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), they correct and maintain haemoglobin levels by stimulating endogenous EPO production. Their efficacy and safety are supported by several Phases I and II studies with relatively short follow-up. This class of drugs has the potential to have a better safety profile than ESAs and there may be additional advantages for cardiovascular disease (CVD), osteoporosis and metabolism. However, possible adverse outcomes are feared. These span from the worsening or occurrence of new cancer, to eye complications or pulmonary hypertension. The data from the ongoing Phase III studies are awaited to better clarify the long-term safety and possible advantages of PHD-I.


PHD inhibitors ; anaemia; chronic kidney disease; erythropoiesis-stimulating agents; hypoxia-inducible factor


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