Pathophysiology of cancer-related anemia

  • M. R. Nowrousian


Anemia is a common symptom in cancer patients, and there are various mechanisms such as bone marrow infiltration, blood loss, hemolysis, renal, hepatic or endocrine disorders or nutritional deficiencies that can produce the anemia. In a considerable number of patients, however, none of these factors is present, and the anemia appears to be exclusively related to the presence of the malignant disease itself. This type of anemia, known as cancer-related anemia (CRA), has many hematological and biochemical similarities with anemias that occur in chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, systemic fungal infections or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Cartwright 1966; Lee 1983; Zucker 1985; Kreuzer et al. 1997; Tiziana and Caligaris-Cappio 1997; Voulgari et al. 1999). This type of anemia, referred to as the anemia of chronic disease (ACD), accounts for 52% of anemias in patients without blood loss, hemolysis or hematologic malignancies. In 19% of cases with ACD, cancer is the cause of anemia (Cash and Sears 1989).


Multiple Myeloma Malignant Lymphoma Erythroid Progenitor Cell Inflammatory System Erythropoietin Production 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine (Cancer Research), West German Cancer CenterUniversity of Essen Medical SchoolEssenGermany

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