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Observational Studies Assess the Potential Impact of Limiting Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agent Availability on Frequency of Blood Transfusions
Date:5/30/2008

CHICAGO, May 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Data from three observational studies reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting evaluated transfusion-related outcomes in cancer chemotherapy patients with various hemoglobin (Hb) levels prior to or during administration of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs).

Two analyses were conducted using observational data from the Dosing and Outcomes Study of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Therapies (DOSE) Registry. The first study (Larholt et al., abstract number 6637) reported that lower mean Hb levels achieved during ESA therapy were associated with increased transfusion requirements in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Another study of oncology patients who initiated ESA therapy at different baseline Hb levels (Burton et al., publication number 20637) concluded that blood utilization was greater when ESA therapy was initiated in patients who had baseline Hb of less than 10 grams per deciliter of blood (g/dL) compared with patients who received ESA therapy with a baseline Hb between 10 and 11 g/dL.

The third study (Gilmore, et al., abstract number 6548) examined hematologic outcomes in ESA-treated cancer chemotherapy patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia before and after implementation of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) National Coverage Determination (NCD) for ESAs. The results found lower Hb values and higher transfusion rates in patients covered by Medicare following adoption of the NCD guidelines for reimbursement for ESA therapies.

"As ESA coverage policies have become more restrictive, these findings are important in helping stakeholders understand the potential impact on transfusion patterns. The data demonstrated that when patients achieved lower mean hemoglobin levels during ESA therapy for chemotherapy-induced anemia, the need for transfusions increased," said Kay Larholt, Sc.D., Vice President, Biometrics, at Abt Bio-Pharma Solutions, Inc
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SOURCE Ortho Biotech Products, L.P.
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