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New survey highlights growing concern about risk of infection in cancer patients
Date:5/28/2009

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., May 27, 2009 Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) today announced the results of a national Harris Interactive, Inc. survey indicating that the vast majority of oncologists and infectious disease (ID) specialists are highly concerned about the negative impact infection may have on treatment outcomes in chemotherapy patients, as well as emerging antibiotic resistance. Nearly all oncologists surveyed (92 percent) believe it is important for cancer patients to prevent infections to achieve successful treatment outcomes. Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern among the majority of physicians surveyed, with 96 percent of ID specialists and 79 percent of oncologists reporting an increase in antibiotic-resistant infections in cancer patients over the past five years. Both groups of physicians report methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections as the most commonly observed in chemotherapy patients.

Cancer patients are at a higher risk for infection due to a compromised immune system caused by both the cancer and chemotherapy treatment. Neutropenia, a low white blood cell count, is a common and potentially dangerous side effect in patients receiving strong chemotherapy. It can lead to a heightened risk of infection that can require hospitalization and be life-threatening. Each year, 60,000 cancer patients are hospitalized for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, and a patient dies every two hours from this complication. Neutropenia also can potentially disrupt chemotherapy treatment, including both dose delays and dose reductions. Studies show that for certain types of cancer, chemotherapy produces the best long-term results when patients receive the full dose on schedule.

"The survey findings show that one in four chemotherapy patients report having an infection during treatment, with more than a third requiring a second course of antibiotics," said Sean Harper, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Development at A
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Contact: Ashleigh Koss
805-313-6151
Amgen, Inc.
Source:Eurekalert

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