Navigation Links
Researchers Urge Caution in Using ESAs for Cancer-Related Anemia

Drugs Might Increase Risk of Tumor Growth, Data Suggest

DURHAM, N.C., April 30, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- Echoing recent FDA warnings, a research group from Northern Ireland cautions against over-aggressive use of a group of drugs called "erythropoiesis-stimulating agents" (ESAs) to treat anemia in some cancer patients, according to a commentary in the April issue of The Oncologist, published by AlphaMed Press.

The article by Dr. Terence R. Lappin and colleagues of Queen's University, Belfast, cites evidence that using ESAs to treat non-chemotherapy-related anemia in cancer patients could increase the risk of death, thromboembolic events, and perhaps even cancer growth. The authors write, "Overall these studies have raised concerns that ESAs could in certain circumstances adversely affect survival in cancer patients and have led to speculation that these agents may enhance thrombosis, tumor growth, and neovascularization."

The ESAs darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) and epoetin alfa (Epogen and Procrit) are genetically engineered forms of a protein called erythropoietin, which stimulates red blood cell production. The drugs are widely used to treat anemia: low levels of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the blood. They are approved for use in treating anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease and in cancer patients with anemia related to chemotherapy.

However, the FDA has recently issued alerts regarding possible hazards of ESA treatment for anemia in cancer patients not receiving chemotherapy. The alerts were based on problems reported in several studies of such "off-label" use of ESAs. One study showed a 25 percent increase in the risk of death for patients receiving darbepoetin alfa. Another reported that cancer patients treated with ESAs were at much higher risk of abnormal blood clots, or "thromboembolic events" -- including stroke and myocardial infarction.

In their commentary , Dr. Lappin and coauthors draw attention to an additional possibility: that ESAs could promote cancer growth. Several studies have identified molecular receptors of erythropoietin in the endothelial cells lining blood vessels and possibly in tumor cells as well. Because of their genetically modified characteristics, ESAs may have stronger effects on these receptors than natural erythropoietin does. If so, then it is possible that ESAs may promote abnormal formation of new blood vessels. This process, called neovascularization, is a key event in cancer growth and progression.

To clarify the adverse effects of ESA treatment in cancer patients, it will be necessary to find out more about how the erythropoietin receptor functions in cancers, the authors believe. Recent studies at their laboratory suggest that erythropoietin may have abnormal effects on the erythropoietin receptors in cultured tumor cells. If this also happens in tumor tissues, it may contribute to the adverse effects of ESAs in patients with cancer-related anemia.

Pending further scientific data, a closer look at the available clinical research may offer important insights. Studies in patients with kidney disease have suggested that using erythropoietin to raise hemoglobin above the usual target level of 12 grams per deciliter (g/dL) is not helpful, and possibly harmful.

"Additional research is urgently needed to determine the effects of ESAs on risk of thrombosis, rate of tumor growth and neovascularization both in vitro and in vivo," Dr. Lappin and colleagues write. Until such studies are done, they believe that ESA treatment for cancer-related anemia should be undertaken cautiously -- and no higher than the 12 g/dL target level.

The new article, entitled, "Warning Flags for Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents and Cancer Associated Anemia," is available online at http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org and in print in the April issue of The Oncologist.

About AlphaMed Press

AlphaMed Press publishes the internationally renowned journals Stem Cells and The Oncologist. Stem Cells, now in its 25th year, is the oldest and one of the world's top-tier peer-reviewed monthly journals in the fast-paced area of stem cells and regenerative medicine. The Oncologist, in its 12th year, is a premier peer-reviewed monthly journal dedicated to physicians entrusted with the care of cancer patients. Its highly acclaimed CME program, The Oncologist CME Online, has awarded more than 28,500 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits(TM). View AlphaMed Press journals at http://www.alphamedpress.org.

Contact: George Kendall: 919-680-0011, . GKendall@alphamedpress.com

CONTACT: George Kendall of The AlphaMed Company, Inc., +1-919-680-0011, GKendall@alphamedpress.com

Web site: http://www.theoncologist.com/http://www.alphamedpress.org/

Terms and conditions of use apply
Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire Association LLC. All rights reserved.
A United Business Media Company


'"/>




Related medicine technology :

1. NIEHS Researchers Identify Enzyme Critical in DNA Replication
2. Stanford Researchers Find Brain Pathway of Depression in Rats
3. Researchers Discover Method for Identifying How Cancer Evades the Immune System
4. Researchers Discover Gene For Rare Skin Disorder
5. Prolexys Pharmaceuticals and Columbia University Researchers Publish Study on Anti-Tumor Properties of a Selective Small Molecule Anti-Tumor Agent With Novel Mechanism of Action
6. NCI Researchers Discover Genes That Are Turned on at High Levels in Tumor-associated Blood Vessels of Mice and Humans
7. Stanford Researchers Track Human Stem Cells Transplanted Into Rat Brain
8. Dasatinib Shows High Early Response Rate as First Treatment for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, M. D. Anderson Researchers Report
9. World First Medical Treatment Announced by Researchers at Queen Mary University London and University of Leicester
10. Researchers Identify New Genetic Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
11. Abbott Researchers Focus on New Cutting-Edge Approaches in the Fight Against Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 Worldwide Radiology ... significant growth as next generation systems provide a ... radiology for cancer surgery. New systems pinpoint the ... that has been such a problem previously, limiting ... Radiosurgery robots take cancer surgery far beyond what ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Feb. 4, 2016  Montoya Love is recognized by ... field of Pharmaceuticals. Montoya is the Regulatory Systems Operations ... Manufacturing and selling a ... Dickinson provides healthcare institutions, clinical laboratories and life ... countries across the globe. ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... (NASDAQ: OMCL ), a leading provider of medication ... results for its fiscal year and fourth quarter ended ... GAAP results: Revenue for the fourth quarter of ... from the third quarter of 2015, and up $8.8 ... Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015 was $484.6 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The event is being held on April 7, 2016 from ... Triumph Over Parkinson’s will fund nearly $100,000 for research for the care and cure ... disease and is the architect of this informative event to raise awareness and funds ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... H. Van Allen have signed a joint enrollment and degree completion agreement. ... toward associate and baccalaureate degrees at FHU|Dickson. , The agreement allows students ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... from across the country gathered at the La Valencia Hotel in San Diego, ... PROSHRED Chicago was named the year’s most outstanding franchise, walking away with the ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... SARASOTA, Fla., (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... appetizing recipes just in time for this weekend’s Big Game. Take the stress out ... ingredients that will keep your guests happy at every stage of the game. , ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Stuart Bentkover, MD, FACS is thrilled to ... the most effective tattoo removal today, Dr. Bentkover is the only doctor in Central ... the PicoSure has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):