Long-term outcome of individuals with pure red cell aplasia and antierythropoietin antibodies in patients treated with recombinant epoetin: a follow-up report from the Research on Adverse Drug Events and Reports (RADAR) Project

Blood. 2005 Nov 15;106(10):3343-7. doi: 10.1182/blood-2005-02-0508. Epub 2005 Aug 11.


Since its introduction in 1988, recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin) has been standard treatment for patients with anemia due to chronic kidney disease. From 1998 to 2004, nearly 200 epoetin-treated persons with chronic kidney disease developed antibodies to epoetin, resulting in pure red cell aplasia (PRCA). The majority of these patients received Eprex, an epoetin alfa product marketed exclusively outside the United States. Herein, we report on the long-term outcome of these individuals. For 170 chronic kidney disease patients who developed epoetin-associated PRCA and had 3 months or more follow-up information available, case reports from the Food and Drug Administration and epoetin manufacturers were reviewed for information on clinical characteristics of the patients, immunosuppressive treatments, epoetin responsiveness, and hematologic recovery. Overall, 64% of the PRCA patients received immunosuppressive therapy, including 19 who also underwent a renal transplantation. Thirty-seven percent experienced a hematologic recovery, with higher hematologic recovery rates among PRCA patients who received immunosuppressive therapy (57% vs 2%, P < .001). Among 34 patients who received epoetin after the onset of PRCA, 56% regained epoetin responsiveness. The highest rates of epoetin responsiveness were observed among persons whose antierythropoietin antibodies were undetectable when epoetin was administered (89%). Among chronic kidney disease patients with epoetin-associated PRCA, epoetin discontinuation and immunosuppressive therapy or renal transplantation is necessary for hematologic recovery. Reinitiation of epoetin therapy among individuals could be considered if antierythropoietin antibodies are undetectable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies* / blood
  • Autoantibodies* / immunology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Epoetin Alfa
  • Erythropoietin / adverse effects*
  • Erythropoietin / immunology
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hematinics / adverse effects*
  • Hematinics / immunology
  • Hematinics / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / methods
  • Kidney Diseases / immunology
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy*
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods
  • Male
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Red-Cell Aplasia, Pure / blood
  • Red-Cell Aplasia, Pure / chemically induced
  • Red-Cell Aplasia, Pure / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Autoantibodies
  • Hematinics
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Epoetin Alfa