Strategies to optimize the use of erythropoietin and iron therapy in oncology patients.

Ford PA, Mastoris J
Transfusion 2004;44(12 Suppl):15S-25S.
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For over a decade now, we have known that epoetins are safe when used as labelled and effective in the majority of patients with chronic renal failure, HIV, or malignancy. However, the issue of iron, first addressed by the nephrologists, now has captured the attention of all subspecialists who prescribe erythropoietin, and well it should. Ford et al. beautifully review the efficacy data of epoetin alfa and darbepoetin across many patient types. They then review this most recent issue of iron sufficiency, followed by the real problems of absolute and functional iron deficiency which may account for a poor response in a sigificant percentage of our patients. This article is well worth reading to boost your awareness of this issue.

– David H. Henry