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      The anaemia of cancer: death by a thousand cuts.

      Nature reviews. Cancer

      Anemia, drug therapy, etiology, physiopathology, Anoxia, Carcinogens, pharmacology, Cell Death, physiology, Erythropoiesis, drug effects, Erythropoietin, therapeutic use, Humans, Neoplasms, complications, Recombinant Proteins, Signal Transduction

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          Abstract

          Cancer has a negative systemic impact on its host in addition to its local or metastatic effects, and no cancer complication is more ubiquitous than anaemia, a condition for which there is now a specific remedy, the recombinant growth factor erythropoietin. This is not a trivial therapeutic consideration, because cancer-associated anaemia has an adverse influence on survival regardless of tumour type. However, the pharmacological correction of anaemia with recombinant erythropoietin could promote tumour growth, whereas the use of tumour-necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand as antitumour agents could exacerbate anaemia, thereby perpetuating tissue hypoxia and tumour progression.

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          Most cited references 123

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          Signal transduction by receptors with tyrosine kinase activity.

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            Erythropoietin to treat head and neck cancer patients with anaemia undergoing radiotherapy: randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

            Anaemia is associated with poor cancer control, particularly in patients undergoing radiotherapy. We investigated whether anaemia correction with epoetin beta could improve outcome of curative radiotherapy among patients with head and neck cancer. We did a multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial in 351 patients (haemoglobin <120 g/L in women or <130 g/L in men) with carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, or larynx. Patients received curative radiotherapy at 60 Gy for completely (R0) and histologically incomplete (R1) resected disease, or 70 Gy for macroscopically incompletely resected (R2) advanced disease (T3, T4, or nodal involvement) or for primary definitive treatment. All patients were assigned to subcutaneous placebo (n=171) or epoetin beta 300 IU/kg (n=180) three times weekly, from 10-14 days before and continuing throughout radiotherapy. The primary endpoint was locoregional progression-free survival. We assessed also time to locoregional progression and survival. Analysis was by intention to treat. 148 (82%) patients given epoetin beta achieved haemoglobin concentrations higher than 140 g/L (women) or 150 g/L (men) compared with 26 (15%) given placebo. However, locoregional progression-free survival was poorer with epoetin beta than with placebo (adjusted relative risk 1.62 [95% CI 1.22-2.14]; p=0.0008). For locoregional progression the relative risk was 1.69 (1.16-2.47, p=0.007) and for survival was 1.39 (1.05-1.84, p=0.02). Epoetin beta corrects anaemia but does not improve cancer control or survival. Disease control might even be impaired. Patients receiving curative cancer treatment and given erythropoietin should be studied in carefully controlled trials.
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              Chemotherapy-induced anemia in adults: incidence and treatment.

               L Itri,  J Groopman (1999)
              Anemia is a common complication of myelosuppressive chemotherapy that results in a decreased functional capacity and quality of life (QOL) for cancer patients. Severe anemia is treated with red blood cell transfusions, but mild-to-moderate anemia in patients receiving chemotherapy has traditionally been managed conservatively on the basis of the perception that it was clinically unimportant. This practice has been reflected in the relative inattention to standardized and complete reporting of all degrees of chemotherapy-induced anemia. We undertook a comprehensive review of published chemotherapy trials of the most common single agents and combination chemotherapy regimens, including the new generation of chemotherapeutic agents, used in the treatment of the major nonmyeloid malignancies in adults to characterize and to document the incidence and severity of chemotherapy-induced anemia. Despite identified limitations in the grading and reporting of treatment-related anemia, the results confirm a relatively high incidence of mild-to-moderate anemia. Recent advances in assessing the relationships of anemia, fatigue, and QOL in cancer patients are providing new insights into these closely related factors. Clinical data are emerging that suggest that mild-to-moderate chemotherapy-induced anemia results in a perceptible reduction in a patient's energy level and QOL. Future research may lead to new classifications of chemotherapy-induced anemia that can guide therapeutic interventions on the basis of outcomes and hemoglobin levels. Perceptions by oncologists and patients that lesser degrees of anemia must be endured without treatment may be overcome as greater emphasis is placed on the QOL of the oncology patient and as research provides further insights into the relationships between hemoglobin levels, patient well-being, and symptoms.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                15965494
                10.1038/nrc1648

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