Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) may be offered to patients with chemotherapy-associated anemia whose cancer treatment is not curative in intent and whose hemoglobin (HgB) has declined to less than 10 g/dL, according to a clinical practice guideline update by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and American Society of Hematology (ASH).
Furthermore, ESAs should not be offered to patients with chemotherapy-associated anemia whose cancer treatment is curative in intent, wrote Julia Bohlius, MD, MScPH, of the University of Bern, Switzerland, along with her associates on the expert panel. The report is in the.
The panel members systematically reviewed the body of literature for evidence pertaining to the use of ESAs in patients with cancer. After the review, the team included 15 meta-analyses and 2 randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
“For biosimilar ESAs, the literature search was expanded to include meta-analyses and RCTs in patients with cancer or chronic kidney disease and cohort studies in patients with cancer,” they wrote.
The update addressed 10 key clinical questions and provided recommendations based on the available literature and clinical experience.
The addition of iron to treatment with an ESA may provide better hematopoietic response and lower the chances of RBC transfusion, according to the guidelines.
In addition, the review revealed that biosimilars of epoetin alfa could provide safety and efficacy similar to that of other reference products; however, the evidence in cancer is still unclear.
“ESAs (including biosimilars) may be offered to patients with chemotherapy-associated anemia whose cancer treatment is not curative in intent and whose hemoglobin has declined to less than 10 g/dL,” they recommended.
As an alternative to ESAs, they stated that “RBC transfusion is also an option.”
The panel acknowledged that ESAs should not be provided to the majority of patients with nonchemotherapy-related anemia, excluding certain patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.
More information on the guidelines is available on theand websites.
The study was funded by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The expert panel reported financial affiliations with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Novartis, Takeda, and several others.
SOURCE: Bohlius J et al. J Clin Oncol. 2019 Apr 10. .