Clinical trials using rhEPO in radiation oncology

  • Michael Henke


With its availability by recombinant technology, erythropoietin (rhEPO) is gaining increasing interest among radiation oncologists (Henke 2000a). This cytokine stimulates the autologous erythropoiesis (Graber et al. 1978; Gregory et al. 1978) and can efficiently correct anemia in cancer patients (Abels et al. 1993; Dusenbery et al. 1994; Henke et al. 1999a; Lavey et al. 1993; Ludwig et al. 1990; Sweeney et al. 1998; Oster et al. 1990). Poor tumor control rates are observed in anemic patients following radiotherapy. This phenomenon was termed “hemoglobin-effect” (Henke et al. 1999b), the cause of which may be an impaired oxygen-dependent radiosensitivity (Becker et al. 2000; Henke et al. 2000b) — the oxygen-effect (Gray et al. 1953). Thus, it is hoped that the correction of the anemic state of these patients can improve tumor oxygenation and, eventually, cancer cure.


Neck Cancer Patient Anemic Patient Tumor Control Rate Pelvic Malignancy Blood Hemoglobin Concentration 
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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Henke
    • 1
  1. 1.Strahlenheilkunde — Radiologische UniversitätsklinikFreiburg i.Br.Germany

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