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Darbepoetin alpha in the treatment of cancer chemotherapy-induced anemia

Authors Alberto Grossi, Francesca Balestri, Simone Santini

Published 15 May 2007 Volume 2007:3(2) Pages 269—275

Alberto Grossi1, Francesca Balestri2, Simone Santini3

1IstitutoLeonardo da Vinci – Hematology, Florence, Italy; 2Blood Transfusion Center, Azienda Sanitaria 4, Prato, Italy; 3Oncology Unit, Azienda Sanitaria 4, Prato, Italy

Abstract: Anemia is a common, but underestimated and undertreated, complication of patients with cancer receiving chemo- or radiotherapy, and negatively affects their quality of life (QoL). Erythropoietic proteins (EPS) offer an effective treatment of cancer anemia and ameliorate QoL, although their use requires the correct targeting of hemoglobin increase to avoid thromboembolic complications. Currently the effort is focused on offering patients this effective treatment with reduced frequency of administration. Higher weekly single doses of recombinant human Epo (rHuEpo) either alpha or beta, instead of three times per week, have been proposed for the treatment. The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics of the hyperglycosylated protein darbepoetin alpha permit even longer intervals between administrations. Every other week or every three weeks schedules have shown results (erythropoietic response, reduction of transfusion requirements, and improvement of QoL) comparable with those of weekly rHuEpo.

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