Author | Jeffrey Crawford, MD

Articles

Hematopoietic growth factors

April 21, 2009

For years, chemotherapy-associated myelosuppression has represented a major limitation to a patient’s tolerance of anticancer therapy. In addition, the clinical consequences of chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression (such as febrile neutropenia, dose reductions, or lengthy dose delays) may have had significant negative effects on quality of life or even response to treatment.

Hematopoietic Growth Factors

July 02, 2007

For years, chemotherapy-associated myelosuppression has represented a major limitation to a patient's tolerance of anticancer therapy. In addition, the clinical consequences of chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression (such as febrile neutropenia, dose reductions, or lengthy dose delays) may have had significant negative effects on quality of life or even response to treatment.

Advances in the Management of Chemotherapy-Induced Neutropenia

December 01, 2006

It has been more than 15 years since the initial approval of myeloid growth factors to reduce febrile neutropenia in cancer patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy.[1] As with other novel therapeutics, the approval of filgrastim (Neupogen) did not mark the end of research in this area, but rather the beginning.

Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Protein Support and Survival

July 01, 2006

Anemia is common in many patients with cancer treated with chemotherapy. One option for managing chemotherapy-induced anemia (CIA) is erythropoiesis-stimulating proteins (ESPs), which are indicated for the treatment of CIA in patients with most types of cancer. They have been shown to be safe and effective in numerous well-documented studies, and their side effects are well known. The rate of thrombotic events with the long-acting ESP darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) has been consistent in studies conducted before and after its approval. The association of thrombotic events with high hemoglobin levels or rapid increases in its levels in patients with cancer remains controversial. Adjusting the dose of the ESP to maintain and monitor a target hemoglobin level of 11 to 12 g/dL is certainly prudent and may help prevent or minimize these events. Chemotherapy-induced anemia has been associated with shorter survival in patients with cancer, and the relation is likely multifactorial. Data on the treatment of CIA with ESPs have not shown a consistent effect on survival. Two studies in patients with hemoglobin levels above the target level showed that survival was shorter in the patients treated with ESPs. A review of data from other trials found no effect of ESPs on survival, and other trials suggested a positive effect. This article reviews data on survival in patients treated with ESPs and discusses five large randomized controlled trials of darbepoetin alfa that are addressing this issue.