Effect of recombinant human erythropoietin on quality of life in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: results of a randomized, controlled trial

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2003 Jun;25(6):512-8. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(03)00070-8.


The purpose of this study was to assess whether the administration of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) would correct anemia and improve the quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. One hundred twenty-two patients with hemoglobin </=11.0 g/dl were randomized to receive rHuEPO 10,000 U three times weekly (n = 61) or no additional treatment (n = 61). Response was assessed by measuring changes in hemoglobin level and QOL. QOL was evaluated before each cycle of chemotherapy at baseline, Week 4, and Week 12 using two separate self-report questionnaires. The analyses indicated that the rHuEPO-treated patients experienced significantly less fatigue (P < 0.05) than their control group counterparts, and reported significantly higher scores on energy level (P < 0.05), ability to perform daily activities (P < 0.01), and overall QOL (P< 0.05). The overall change in hemoglobin level was significantly greater in the rHuEPO group than in the control group (1.7 g/dl versus 0.3 g/dl, P < 0.001). rHuEPO effectively corrects anemia and significantly improves QOL in patients with solid tumors receiving chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia / drug therapy*
  • Anemia / etiology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin