Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy vol:6 issue:3 pages:429-40
Chemotherapy-induced anaemia, with its important consequences on quality of life and social function of cancer patients, can be improved with erythropoietic therapy. Darbepoetin alfa is the first of a novel generation of erythropoietic proteins with a unique molecular structure and a circulating half-life that is threefold longer than that of the previous recombinant human erythropoietin. The efficacy and safety of weekly administration have been confirmed in different Phase II and III randomised trials. In order to optimise the efficacy profile of darbepoetin alfa, extended dosing intervals and front-loading regimens are evaluated, as well the optimal haemoglobin level to initiate therapy. Across all trials, darbepoetin alfa was shown to be a well-tolerated and safe therapy. The possible favourable effect on the outcome of cancer patients needs to be further elucidated.