Targeted molecular mechanisms of epoetin alfa

Corey J. Langer, Fred R. Hirsch, Hernan Cortés-Funes, Stephen T. Sawyer, Nick Thatcher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Despite therapeutic improvements and ongoing efforts to develop more efficacious therapies, the majority of lung cancer patients face a poor prognosis. Therefore, the primary goal of current treatment is palliation, improvement and maintenance of quality of life (QOL), and (modest) prolongation of survival. Anemia frequently occurs in lung cancer patients and has been associated with decreased QOL, impaired treatment outcomes, and shortened survival time. Furthermore, anemia is a causative factor of tumor hypoxia, which compromises the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Thus, correction of even mild anemia seems to have a beneficial effect on QOL and cancer treatment outcomes. The current article describes the basis and mechanism for the use of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO, epoetin alfa), a molecular targeted therapy, for the treatment of cancer-related anemia, with a focus on lung cancer. Epoetin alfa has proven efficacy and safety in correcting anemia and improving QOL based on numerous clinical studies and over a decade of clinical practice. In addition, emerging data show that epoetin alfa may offer potential benefits beyond treating anemia, specifically in terms of treatment outcomes and cognitive function. Future research needs to be conducted to explore the potential for epoetin alfa to improve survival time in lung cancer patients. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Published by Elservier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S133-S145
    JournalLung Cancer
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2003


    • Anemia
    • Epoetin alfa
    • Lung cancer
    • Quality of life
    • Recombinant human erythropoietin
    • Survival
    • Treatment outcomes


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