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Anemia prevalence and treatment practice in patients with non-myeloid tumors receiving chemotherapy

Authors Merlini L, Cartenì G, Iacobelli S, Stelitano C, Airoldi M, Balcke P, Keil F, Haslbauer F, Belton L, Pujol B

Received 15 March 2013

Accepted for publication 2 April 2013

Published 2 August 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 205—214


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Laura Merlini,1 Giacomo Cartenì,2 Stefano Iacobelli,3 Caterina Stelitano,4 Mario Airoldi,5 Peter Balcke,6 Felix Keil,7 Ferdinand Haslbauer,8 Laura Belton,9 Beatriz Pujol10

1Department of Medical Oncology, Ospedale Civile S, Bortolo, Vicenza, 2Department of OncoHematology, Azienda Ospedaliera di Rilievo Nazionale "Antonio Cardarelli", Napoli, 3Department of Medical Oncology, Ospedale Clinicizzato SS Annunziata, Chieti, 4Department of Hematology, Azienda Ospedaliera "Bianchi Melacrino Morelli", Reggio Calabria, 5Department of Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Le Molinette, Torino, Italy; 61st Medical Department, General Hospital St Pölten and Karl Landsteiner Institute of Oncology, St Pölten, 73rd Medical Department (Hematology and Oncology), Hanusch Krankenhaus der Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse, Vienna, 8Department of Oncology, Landeskrankenhaus Vöcklabruck, Vöcklabruck, Austria; 9Contract biostatistician, Amgen Ltd, Uxbridge, UK; 10Research and Development Haematology/Oncology, Amgen Europe, Zug, Switzerland

Purpose: To describe the prevalence and management of anemia in cancer patients.
Methods: This cross-sectional, observational survey was conducted in Italy and Austria. Centers prespecified one day, during a 4-month enrollment window, to report specific data collected during normal clinical practice for patients with non-myeloid tumors attending for chemotherapy (±radiotherapy) treatment. The primary endpoint was the prevalence of anemia as determined using a prespecified algorithm: hemoglobin (Hb) ≤10 g/dL on/within 3 days prior to visit; ongoing anemia treatment; physician diagnosis of anemia, together with ≥1 anemia symptom.
Results: Between November 18, 2010 and March 18, 2011, data for 1412 patients were collected (Italy n = 1130; Austria n = 282). Most patients (n = 1136; 80%) had solid tumors; 809 (57%) had received ≤ 3 chemotherapy cycles. The prevalence of anemia was 32% (95% confidence interval: 29.4%–34.2%); 196 patients (14%) were deemed anemic based on Hb ≤10 g/dL, 131 (9%) on ongoing anemia treatment, and 121 (9%) on physician diagnosis/anemia symptom. Overall, 1153 patients (82%) had Hb data; mean (standard deviation [SD]) Hb levels were 11.7 (1.7) g/dL. In total, 456 patients (32%) had anemia symptoms: fatigue (n = 392; 28%), depression (n = 122; 9%), and dyspnea (n = 107; 8%) were most common. Fifty-one patients (4%) had had their current chemotherapy cycle delayed due to anemia. On visit day, or ≤ 28 days prior, 91 (6%), 188 (13%), and 81 patients (6%) had evidence of whole blood/red blood cell transfusion, erythropoiesis-stimulating agent use, or iron use, respectively.
Conclusion: On the prespecified study day, one-third of patients with non-myeloid tumors undergoing chemotherapy were found to be anemic and 13% had evidence of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent use then or in the 28 days prior.

Keywords: erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, hemoglobin, iron, management, transfusion

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