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ASCO and ASH Release Update to Clinical Practice Guidelines for Use of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents

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ASCO and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) have released an update to existing guidelines for the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents to manage anemia in patients with cancer. The update was simultaneously published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Blood Advances.

“The current update aims to increase awareness of recent developments regarding the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in patients with cancer. New information has emerged that may not be widely disseminated regarding safety, efficacy, and mode of use. This update aims to improve efficacy and, most importantly, safety of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent use in patients,” said Alejandro Lazo-Langner, MD, MSc, FRCPC, who serves as Co-Chair of the ASCO/ASH Expert Panel that developed the guideline update.

Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents are indicated for use in patients with cancer who receive noncurative myelosuppressive chemotherapy that is intended to mitigate symptoms and side effects in order to decrease the need for red blood cell transfusions. Although erythropoiesis-stimulating agents raise hemoglobin levels and reduce the need for transfusions, they increase the risk of thromboembolic events such as pulmonary embolism, highlighting the ongoing importance of appropriate and careful use. Clinicians and their patients must weigh the benefits and risks when deciding to use such agents.

“The general indication for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in cancer is to reduce transfusions because the risks may outweigh the benefits, except for those patients with myelodysplastic syndromes,” Dr. Lazo-Langner said.

To read the full guideline update, visit jco.ascopubs.org or bloodadvances.org.

Originally published in ASCO Daily News. © American Society of Clinical Oncology. ASCO Daily News, April 10, 2019. All rights reserved.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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