Although many studies have shown that supplementation with iron and erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA) is frequently used for managing chemotherapy-induced anemia (CIA), optimal combination therapy using these agents together to ameliorate anemia is not well characterized. To assess the effects of ESA combined with oral or intravenous (IV) iron on relieving CIA, PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) were searched for articles. Data collected in the articles were meta-analyzed using RevMan 5.3 software with a random-effects model. Our comprehensive search yielded 1666 potentially relevant trials. A total of 41 trials randomizing 4200 patients with CIA fulfilled inclusion criteria, including 34 Chinese articles and 7 English articles. Meta-analysis showed that treatment with both ESA and iron more effectively improved CIA relative to iron supplementation alone, with increased hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell count and hematopoietic response rate. Subgroup analyses revealed iron administration, both oral and IV iron, improved anemia in ESA-treated cancer patients with CIA. Our analysis demonstrates that iron supplementation combined with ESA more effectively ameliorates CIA relative to iron supplementation alone, without regard to whether IV or oral iron was used. Together, our findings may contribute to the clinical treatment of CIA using iron therapy with or without ESA.
- chemotherapy-induced anemia
- erythropoiesis-stimulating agents
- intravenous iron
- oral iron