Clinical and Translational Oncology

, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 486–492 | Cite as

Predictors of response to erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA) in cancer patients: the role of baseline serum epoetin level

  • Jaime Sanz OrtizEmail author


Anemia is the most frequent hematologic abnormality among cancer patients. Its pathophysiology comprises reduction in erythrocyte half-life, poor iron reutilization by the bone marrow, and inadequate response to erythropoietin (EPO), with reduced endogenous EPO (eEPO) levels. Current treatment implies the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA), to which 35–48% of patients show primary resistance. The search for predictors of response to ESA treatment has been inconclusive. Iron or vitamin deficiency, the recent need for transfusion, or a lack of hemoglobin increase within the first 2–4 weeks usually predict resistance to ESA. High serum eEPO levels at treatment initiation (> 100–150 mU/ml) may also predict resistance, especially in hematologic malignancies, but the results in solid tumors are not consistent. Although patients with cancer-related anemia show higher eEPO levels than patients without anemia, there is extreme variability among individuals. Future studies are needed to clarify eEPO usefulness in predicting response to ESA treatment.


Anemia Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents Erythropoietin Drug resistance Risk factors Neoplasms 


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Copyright information

© Feseo 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Oncology ServiceHospital Marqués de ValdecillaSantanderSpain

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