RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
Erythropoietin treatment of anemia associated with multiple myeloma.
Anemia is a common complication of multiple myeloma. It resolves early in the disease if chemotherapy induces a complete remission, but persists if the disease progresses, causing disabling symptoms and often requiring blood transfusions. We treated 13 patients with myeloma-associated anemia by administering recombinant human erythropoietin three times a week for six months. Eleven patients (85 percent) had steady increases in hemoglobin levels and eventual correction of the anemia. Their symptoms of anemia subsided, and they reported a heightened sense of well-being. No patient had any adverse side effects, particularly episodes of hypertension. Monitoring of the serum M component showed a predominantly stable tumor load without apparent interaction between the underlying disease and the response to erythropoietin therapy. The number of erythroid burst-forming units in the bone marrow and peripheral blood and the level of erythropoiesis in bone marrow smears increased significantly during therapy. Pretreatment serum levels of erythropoietin were higher in the patients who did not respond and in those who required more than two months of treatment before they responded. Serum iron, ferritin, and transferrin concentrations reflected responses to treatment. We conclude that recombinant human erythropoietin is a promising therapeutic tool for treating myeloma-associated anemia.
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