Background: Anemia occurs frequently in patients with cancer and is associated with impaired health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Treatment of anemia results in significant improvements in energy, activity and overall HRQOL, particularly among patients with mild-to-moderate anemia. Importantly, studies have indicated that anemia may have a negative impact on the success of radiotherapy, reducing survival and locoregional control. Recent preclinical and preliminary clinical data have also suggested that anemia may be associated with poorer outcomes following chemotherapy or surgery. Materials and methods: Data for review were identified and selected from searches of the literature published from January 1990 through to October 2002 using Medline®, and searches of proceedings from key international oncology and hematology meetings. Results: A wealth of data indicate that treatment of anemia improves HRQOL in patients with cancer. Prospective studies exploring survival and/or treatment outcomes in anemic cancer patients are currently in their early stages, preventing any firm conclusions from being drawn, although they do indicate a benefit in treating anemia. Conclusions: Recent studies support the use of erythropoietic agents in anemic cancer patients as a means of raising their hemoglobin levels and consequently improving their HRQOL. Randomized, controlled trials are needed to determine whether treating anemia with erythropoietic agents will improve other outcomes following therapy.
- Darbepoetin α
- Health-related quality of life
- Recombinant human erythropoietin
ASJC Scopus subject areas