Many breast cancer patients are anemic due to either their treatment or disease. Researchers examined whether erythropoietin-stimulating agents such as epoetin alfa (EPO) reduce the need for red blood cell (RBC) transfusions and increase patient survival. Based on a randomized, multi-center trial, >2,000 metastatic breast cancer patients (hemoglobin <11.0 g/dL) were randomized to receive either weekly EPO or standard care. Baseline characteristics were similar between the groups. No differences were observed between the groups for progression-free survival, overall survival, median time to tumor progression or the overall response rate over one year. The trial did not meet the non-inferiority objectives for EPO. RBC transfusions, therefore, should continue to be used as standard care to treat metastatic breast cancer patients with anemia.
- Leyland-Jones B, Bondarenko I, Nemsadze G, Smirnov V, Litvin I, Kokhreidze I, Abshilava L, Janjalia M, Li R, Lakshmaiah KC, Samkharadze B, Tarasova O, Mohapatra RK, Sparyk Y, Polenkov S, Vladimirov V, Xiu L, Zhu E, Kimelblatt B, Deprince K, Safonov I, Bowers P, Vercammen E. A Randomized, Open-Label, Multicenter, Phase III Study of Epoetin Alfa Versus Best Standard of Care in Anemic Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer Receiving Standard Chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol 2016.