The Role of Erythropoietin in the Supportive Care of Breast Cancer
- Cite this article as:
- Van Belle, S. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2003) 81(Suppl 1): 95. doi:10.1023/A:1026385227074
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Anemia is a common complication of cancer and cancer therapy, causing numerous physical and psychological distress. The incidence of anemia in breast cancer under cytotoxic therapy depends on the type of chemotherapy, but can be as high as 60% of the patients (defined as <12 g/dl hemoglobin level). Treatment consists of red blood cell transfusion or epoietin. The impact on quality of life by treating anemia with epoietin, is demonstrated in several randomized trials, even if trials restricted to breast cancer are scarce. On the other hand, the influence of epoietin and correction of anemia by epoietin on treatment outcome is still under investigation. There is some concern about the discovery of erythropoietin-receptors on breast cancer cells, in vitro and in vivo, but until now there is no evidence that epoietin stimulates the growth of these cells.