Use of intravenous iron therapy in colorectal cancer patient with iron deficiency anemia: a propensity-score matched study



Iron deficiency anemia is common in colorectal cancer patients and is related to poor surgical outcome. Increasing evidence supports preoperative use of intravenous iron (IVI) to correct anemia. Our study investigates effect of preoperative IVI on hemoglobin level.


From August 2017 to March 2019, colorectal cancer patients with iron deficiency anemia received intravenous iron at least 2 weeks before their scheduled operations (IVI group). These patients’ prospectively collected data were compared to a historic cohort of anemic patients who received elective colorectal surgery within 3 years before the study period (non-IVI).


Forty-six patients were included after receiving intravenous iron. After propensity score matching on 1:2 ratio, 38 patients in IVI group were matched with 62 patients from non-IVI group. There was no statistical difference for preoperative mean hemoglobin level between the two groups (8.43 g/dL in IVI, 8.79 g/dL in non-IVI, p = 0.117), but IVI group has significantly higher mean hemoglobin level on admission (10.63 g/dL in IVI, 9.46 g/dL in non-IVI, p = < 0.001). IVI group had higher median hemoglobin rise (1.9 in IVI, 0.6 in non-IVI, p = <0.001) and significantly less red cell transfusion (8 patients in IVI, 30 in non-IVI, p = 0.006). Subgroup analysis showed that less patients in IVI group required transfusions in preoperative period (1 in IVI group, 20 in non-IVI, p < 0.001).


Our data suggested that IVI can significantly increase hemoglobin level in iron deficiency anemic patients before colorectal surgery, with reduction in red cell transfusions.

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Correspondence to Philip Ming-Ho Kam.

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Kam, P.M., Chu, C.W., Chan, E.M. et al. Use of intravenous iron therapy in colorectal cancer patient with iron deficiency anemia: a propensity-score matched study. Int J Colorectal Dis (2020).

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  • Colorectal cancer
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Intravenous iron
  • Red cell transfusion