Quality of life in chronic anemia of cancer during treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin

C Leitgeb, M Pecherstorfer, E Fritz, H Ludwig

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

162 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Improvements in quality of life after treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) often have been reported in patients with end-stage renal disease. In patients with chronic anemia of cancer, comparatively few systemic investigations have been performed.

METHODS: Various aspects of quality of life were self-reported on linear analogue scales of a slightly modified questionnaire that was first developed to assess toxicity of chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. Thirty-four patients with chronic anemia of cancer completed 10 items (feelings of well-being, mood, level of activity, pain, nausea, appetite, physical ability, social activities, anxiety, and helpfulness of therapy) before and after 8 and 12 weeks of rHuEPO therapy.

RESULTS: Patients with response to the therapy significantly improved after 8 weeks of treatment in some items and after 12 weeks in all items. Patients with no response also had some improvement after 12 weeks of therapy. Hemoglobin levels correlated strongly with mood and appetite. World Health Organization (WHO) performance status improved significantly in patients with response but tended to diminish in those without. Median survival was 4.1 months in patients with no response and 12.0 months in those with response. After 12 weeks of therapy, the scores of the items "physical ability" and "social activities" proved to be significant prognostic factors, which surpassed the prognostic power of the WHO performance status.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of rHuEPO therapy in chronic anemia of cancer are far more than cosmetics of laboratory values. They enable the patients with response to lead a physically and socially more active life with less anxiety, brighter moods, and an increased general feeling of well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2535-42
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia/drug therapy
  • Erythropoietin/therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms/complications
  • Quality of Life
  • Recombinant Proteins/therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


Dive into the research topics of 'Quality of life in chronic anemia of cancer during treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this