To update American Society of Clinical Oncology/American Society of Hematology recommendations for use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) in patients with cancer.
An Update Committee reviewed data published between January 2007 and January 2010. MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library were searched.
The literature search yielded one new individual patient data analysis and four literature-based meta-analyses, two systematic reviews, and 13 publications reporting new results from randomized controlled trials not included in prior or new reviews.
For patients undergoing myelosuppressive chemotherapy who have a hemoglobin (Hb) level less than 10 g/dL, the Update Committee recommends that clinicians discuss potential harms (eg, thromboembolism, shorter survival) and benefits (eg, decreased transfusions) of ESAs and compare these with potential harms (eg, serious infections, immune-mediated adverse reactions) and benefits (eg, rapid Hb improvement) of RBC transfusions. Individual preferences for assumed risk should contribute to shared decisions on managing chemotherapy-induced anemia. The Committee cautions against ESA use under other circumstances. If used, ESAs should be administered at the lowest dose possible and should increase Hb to the lowest concentration possible to avoid transfusions. Available evidence does not identify Hb levels ≥ 10 g/dL either as thresholds for initiating treatment or as targets for ESA therapy. Starting doses and dose modifications after response or nonresponse should follow US Food and Drug Administration–approved labeling. ESAs should be discontinued after 6 to 8 weeks in nonresponders. ESAs should be avoided in patients with cancer not receiving concurrent chemotherapy, except for those with lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes. Caution should be exercised when using ESAs with chemotherapeutic agents in diseases associated with increased risk of thromboembolic complications. Table 1 lists detailed recommendations. This guideline was developed through a collaboration between the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society of Hematology and has been published jointly by invitation and consent in both Journal of Clinical Oncology and Blood. Copyright © 2010 American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Society of Hematology. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission by the American Society of Clinical Oncology or the American Society of Hematology.