, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 52-56

Clinical application of recombinant human erythropoietin for treatments in patients with head and neck cancer

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The therapeutic effects of intravenous recombinant human erythropoietin (r-hEPO) administration on anemia induced by radiation therapy (3 cases), chemotherapy (18 cases) and combined therapies (5 cases) in patients with head and neck malignancies were examined. The effectiveness was evaluated by the changes in the hemoglobin concentration examined before and after the r-hEPO administration. The r-hEPO administration combined with anticancer therapies improved anemia induced by all three treatments. The therapeutic effectiveness of r-hEPO injection was also noted on anemia induced by all of four different chemotherapeutic regimens that have been ordinarily used for head and neck malignancies. Furthermore, the efficacy of the different dose schedules, 3000 IU (12 cases) or 6000 IU (14 cases), three times a week, was compared. Both of the r-hEPO dose schedules were effective for anemia, but the efficacy of 6000 IU was superior to that of 3000 IU. No significant changes were observed in the number of white blood cells and platelets and the results of biochemical examinations after the r-hEPO injection. There were no objective side-effects related to the r-hEPO administration. These results suggest that anemia induced by chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy could be prevented by r-hEPO administration. The addition of r-hEPO to anticancer therapies would make it possible to pursue the planned therapeutic schedules, prevent the decrease of immunity after allogeneic blood transfusion and bring about an improvement in the prognosis of patients with malignancies.