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Erythropoietic stimulation in oncology: Avoid outside chemotherapy


In a large, randomized, multicenter clinical trial, darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp—Amgen) administered to patients with anemia of cancer who were not receiving chemotherapy failed to reduce red blood cell (RBC) transfusions and in fact increased mortality, compared with placebo. Based on these results, FDA has added a black box to product labeling warning against the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) for the management of anemia in such patients.