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Review: erythropoiesis-stimulating agents increase mortality in patients with cancer

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Question

Do erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) used for prevention or treatment of anaemia increase mortality in patients with cancer?

Review scope

Included studies compared ESAs (epoetin or darbepoetin) plus red blood cell (RBC) transfusions as needed with RBC transfusions as needed alone for prevention or treatment of anaemia in patients with cancer. Exclusion criteria were trials of high-dose myeloablative chemotherapy plus stem-cell transplantation, those with planned sample sizes of <100 patients or analyses including <50 patients, or in which >20% of patients had myelodysplastic syndromes or acute leukaemia or used ESAs as preoperative treatment. Outcomes were mortality during active study periods (⩽28 d after end of active period) and overall survival during follow-up.

Review methods

Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Cochrane Library, and conference proceedings …

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