Recombinant human erythropoietin for the treatment of anemia in the myelodysplastic syndromes: A clinical and erythrokinetic assessment
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The clinical and ferrokinetic effects of escalating doses of subcutaneously administered recombinant human erythropoietin (rh-EPO) were studied in ten patients with myelodysplastic syndromes and severe transfusion-dependent anemia. Red blood cell transfusion requirements diminished in four patients, and one of the patients eventually became transfusion independent with an EPO-induced rise of Hb from 7.7 g/dl to 12.3 g/dl. Endogenous serum levels of EPO were significantly increased in all patients (100–5700 mU/ml), but three of four responders had a relatively low baseline level. The effective red cell iron turnover (RCIT) improved in two responding patients and even normalized in one patient. This increase in RCIT was accompanied with a decline in the ineffective red cell iron turnover (IIT). The other responding patients had a relatively preserved RCIT before EPO treatment. EPO therapy further increased the fraction of IIT in the latter patients. Red cell survival time did not increase during EPO therapy, even in the responding patients. One transient and one maintained increase in platelet count were observed. Disease progression with a sustained increase in blast cells in one patient and a transient elevation of blasts in another patient was seen. No other side effects of EPO therapy were observed. These results suggest that anemic MDS patients with low serum EPO levels and relatively spared effective erythropoiesis as measured by ferrokinetic studies may be the best candidates for treatment with recombinant human EPO.
Key wordsMyelodysplastic syndrome rh-Erythropoietin Ferrokinetic effects
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