Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 81, Supplement 1, pp 95–97

The Role of Erythropoietin in the Supportive Care of Breast Cancer

  • Simon Van Belle

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026385227074

Cite this article as:
Van Belle, S. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2003) 81(Suppl 1): 95. doi:10.1023/A:1026385227074


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.

anemia breast cancer epoietin quality of life 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Van Belle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyUniversity Hospital GhentGhentBelgium

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