Department of Pharmacy, General Hospital of Northern Theater Command, No.83, Wenhua Road, Shenyang, 110016, China. Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 201203, China. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100049, Beijing, China. Department of Research and Training, General Hospital of Northern Theater Command, No.83, Wenhua Road, Shenyang, 110016, China. Department of Pharmacy, General Hospital of Northern Theater Command, No.83, Wenhua Road, Shenyang, 110016, China. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) have been reported to increase the risk of death in cancer patients. In this study, we selected breast cancer, which is currently the most prevalent cancer worldwide, for a meta-analysis to re-examine the advantages and disadvantages of using ESAs. All relevant studies were searched by PubMed, Embase, Web of science, and Cochrane Library. Endpoints including mortality, incidence
of thrombo-vascular events, hemoglobin, and transfusion requirements were meta-analyzed based on random-effects model or fixed-effect model. 10 studies were finally included, with a total sample size of 6785 patients. The risk of mortality was higher in patients using ESA than in controls (RR 1.07, 95% CI 1.01-1.13, P = 0.03); subgroup analysis found that the mortality rate was higher in patients treating with ESA for > 6 months (RR 1.27, 95% CI 1.05-1.55, P = 0.01) and epoetin α (RR 1.07, 95% CI 1.01-1.14, P = 0.03). The incidence of thrombo-vascular adverse events was higher in patients using ESA than in controls (RR 1.53, 95% CI 1.27-1.86, P < 0.0001). The ESA group was more effective in improving anemia in cancer patients (MD 1.20, 95% CI 0.77-1.63, P < 0.00001). The blood transfusion needs of patients in the ESA group were significantly lower (RR 0.52, 95%CI 0.44-0.60, P < 0.00001). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in disease progression-related conditions (HR 1.03, 95%CI 0.95-1.12, P = 0.52). ESAs increase the risk of mortality and the incidence of thrombo-vascular adverse events in breast cancer patients, while reducing their anemia symptoms and transfusion requirements. Registration PROSPERO CRD42022330450.