Publication Abstract

Authors: Lai Y, Ye Z, Civan JM, Wang C, Cristofanilli M, Mu Z, Austin L, Palazzo JP, Myers RE, Yang H

Title: The effects of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents on the short-term and long-term survivals in metastatic breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: a SEER population-based study.

Journal: Breast Cancer Res Treat 153(2):407-16

Date: 2015 Sep

Abstract: Current clinical guidelines state that the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) may be considered to treat chemotherapy-induced anemia in the non-curative setting to alleviate anemia-related symptoms. However, no convincing survival benefit has been demonstrated to support the use of ESAs in these patients. Using the comprehensive data collected in the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-surveillance epidemiology and end results (SEER) and Medicare-linked database, we analyzed the effect of ESA use on the short-term (18-month) and long-term (60-month) survival rates of chemotherapy-treated metastatic breast cancer patients. Confounding variables were adjusted using a propensity score approach. We also analyzed the effects of ESA on the survival of patients receiving trastuzumab, a commonly prescribed targeted therapy agent in treating HER2-positive tumors. Metastatic breast cancer patients who received ESA treatment exhibited similar 60-month survival rate to those without ESA treatment (22.8 vs. 24.9%, p = 0.8). ESA-treated patients had a trend toward better 18-month survival [crude hazard ratio (HR) 0.86, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.68-1.09, p = 0.21]. This protective effect during the first 18 months of chemotherapy became marginally significant after adjusting for the propensity of receiving ESAs (HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.63-1.01, p = 0.070). An interaction effect between ESA and trastuzumab on patient survival was noticeable but not statistically significant. ESAs did not negatively affect the long-term survival of metastatic breast cancer patients. Moreover, ESAs improved patients' survival during the first 18 months of chemotherapy treatment. These findings endorse the current clinical guideline. Given the short survival of these patients, the potential short-term beneficial effects of ESAs are clinically meaningful.