A study suggests that Aranesp ( Darbepoetin alfa ) administered every three weeks with intravenous ( IV ) iron has the potential to further enhance the effectiveness of increasing patient hemoglobin levels to the recommended target of greater than or equal to 11 g/dL and reducing the need for red blood cell transfusions in cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia.
Interim results from 196 patients in this Phase 3b study demonstrated that, among patients receiving 500 mcg Aranesp administered every three weeks in combination with IV iron ( n= 100 ), 94 percent achieved the target hemoglobin level of greater than or equal to 11 g/dL between week five and the end of treatment. In the group who received Aranesp and iron administered according to standard practice ( oral iron or no iron ) ( n= 96 ), 89 percent of patients achieved the target hemoglobin level.
Fewer patients in the group administered IV iron received a red blood cell transfusion between week five and the end of treatment compared to patients in the group receiving standard iron administration ( 12 percent versus 25 percent ).
Treatment-related adverse events were similar between the two groups ( six percent in the IV iron group compared to three percent in the oral or no iron group ) and were consistent with the adverse event profile for this population of anemic chemotherapy patients receiving Aranesp.
Cardiovascular and thromboembolic adverse events were reported in few patients ( six patients in each group ) and were not associated with increases in hemoglobin levels.
Source: 2006 American Society of Clinical Oncology ( ASCO ) Annual Meeting