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Drug for anemic cancer patients raises risk of death
Date:2/26/2008

a previously known 57 percent increased risk of blood clots in the legs or lungs for cancer patients receiving ESAs. But the higher blood clot risk did not explain the 10 percent increased risk of death shown in his study, Bennett said.

"We know that ESA's may prevent a blood transfusion, but if I had cancer and I needed a blood transfusion, I would be much more conservative about taking ESAs," Bennett said. "The current FDA recommendation is these drugs are safe for cancer patients as long their hemoglobin levels aren't raised too high. Our data do not support that."

Lai cautioned that various solid tumors such as breast cancer, colon cancer and melanoma may react differently to ESAs. "The exact effect and size of that effect may be different depending upon the type of tumor. Additional research is clearly necessary, and we have to be careful about generalizing these results before further research is conducted," he said.

On March 13, the FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee will meet in Gaithersburg, Md. to discuss the cumulative data, including the recent study results, regarding the use of ESAs for cancer patients, Bennett said.


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Contact: Marla Paul
Marla-Paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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