For patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia, adding intravenous iron to treatment with the drug darbepoetin alfa results in a faster and more potent improvement in response with lower doses of the drug, according to data presented at the 33rd Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Stockholm.
Anemia is a common problem in cancer patients, caused by a combination of factors including the malignancy itself, plus the effects of chemotherapy. Treatments can include drugs such as darbepoetin alfa, which stimulates the production of new blood cells, although up to one in three patients do not respond to these therapies.
Dr. Michael Auerbach, a hematologist from Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues studied whether adding intravenous iron would improve response rate in a group of 238 patients with a range of cancer types. The researchers divided the patients into four groups: either high-dose darbepoetin alfa plus or minus iron, or low-dose darbepoetin alfa plus or minus iron.
“In a large subset of patients with cancer-related anemia, an important factor that limits their response to treatment is the presence of an iron deficiency,” Dr. Auerbach said.
Release date: September 15, 2008
Source: European Society for Medical Oncology