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ASCO and ASH Release Updated Guideline on the Use of Chemotherapy-Related Anemia Treatments in Cancer Patients
Date:10/22/2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have released an updated joint guideline on the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), a class of drugs that stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells, to treat chemotherapy-related anemia.

"One goal of these guidelines is to inform clinicians with the most up-to-date evidence from high-quality studies regarding the risks and benefits of ESAs in patients with cancer," said J. Douglas Rizzo, MD, MS, co-chair of the guideline panel and Associate Professor of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin.

This updated guideline, originally published in 2002, was derived from systematic reviews and analysis of published clinical trials. It outlines the clotting risks of ESAs, makes recommendations on usage, and provides insights on disease progression and patient survival.

Specifically, the guideline:

-- Declares epoetin and darbepoetin equally safe and effective.

-- Recommends the use of ESAs as a treatment option for cancer patients

who become anemic as a result of chemotherapy when their hemoglobin

approaches or falls below 10 g/dL, as well as for patients with low-

risk myelodysplasia.

-- Suggests that when using ESAs, hemoglobin can be raised to (or near)

a concentration of 12 g/dL at which point the dosage should be

titrated to maintain that level. Dose reductions are also recommended

when hemoglobin rise exceeds 1 g/dL in any two-week period or when

the hemoglobin level exceeds 11 g/dL.

-- Recommends discontinuing use of ESAs beyond six to eight weeks if a

patient has not responded to the drug.

-- Recommends monitoring the iron levels of patients being treated with

ESAs and providing supplements accordingly.

-- Cautions against using ESAs for cancer patient
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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