Predictive factors for response of anemia to recombinant human erythropoietin


Patients with solid tumors or hematological malignancies often develop anemia at diagnosis or in the course of the disease (Means et al. 1992; Beguin 1996; Moliterno et al. 1996; Groopman et al. 1999). Many studies have shown that recombinant human erythropoietin (rHEpo) therapy can ameliorate the anemia associated with cancer and chemotherapy, reduce the need for transfusions and improve quality of life as well as work capacity. However, as many as 30–50% of the patients do not respond, even to very high doses of rHEpo. It is, therefore, important to be able to recognize and correct conditions adversely affecting response to rHEpo, in particular functional iron deficiency. When no such particular condition can be identified, it would also be of great interest to have at one’s disposal predictive algorithms of response. Thereby patients can be selected on the basis of their probability to achieve a good response to treatment and prolonged ineffective use of an expensive medication can be avoided in those patients with a low probability of response. In this paper, we will review factors potentially affecting response to rHEpo and comment on the use of predictive algorithms.


Recombinant Human Erythropoietin Intravenous Iron Functional Iron Deficiency Erythropoietic Activity Serum Transferrin Receptor 
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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of HematologyUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium

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