Position paper on management of iron deficiency in adult cancer patients

Expert Rev Hematol. 2017 Aug;10(8):685-695. doi: 10.1080/17474086.2017.1343140. Epub 2017 Jul 3.


Disorders of iron metabolism are commonly seen in onco-hematological clinical practice. Iron-deficiency anemia and cancer-associated anemia are usually treated with supportive therapies. Optimal management of these conditions are discussed in this perspective paper. Areas covered: A position paper discussing a number of hot topics on anemia in cancer patients is presented. The main areas covered by experts in the field are: definitions, prevalence and consequences of anemia and iron deficiency, incidence of anemia resulting from targeted therapies, importance of anemia diagnosis and monitoring, evaluation of iron status before and during treatment, role of transfusions and erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, management of iron deficiency with or without anemia, parenteral iron supplementation, role of new oral iron formulations, safety and cost issues regarding different iron compounds and administration routes. Expert commentary: Despite the availability of newer therapeutic options for its management, anemia still represents a major complication of treatment in cancer patients (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapies), aggravating physical impairment, and negatively affecting general outcome. The view expressed by the panelists, attendees of the 4th Mediterranean Course on Iron Anemia, summarizes what they consider optimal clinical practice for screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of iron deficiency and anemia in cancer patients.

Keywords: Cancer; anemia; consensus; erythropoiesis-stimulating agents; iron deficiency; iron therapy; sucrosomial iron; transfusion.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / therapy*
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Disease Management
  • Drug Compounding
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Iron / adverse effects
  • Iron / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Prevalence


  • Iron