Anemia is present in over two-thirds of patients with malignant hematological disorders. The etiology of anemia predominates from ineffective erythropoiesis from marrow infiltration, cytokine related suppression, erythropoietin suppression, and vitamin deficiency; ineffective erythropoiesis is further exacerbated by accelerated clearance due to antibody mediated hemolysis and thrombotic microangiopathy. As the anemia is chronic in nature, symptoms are generally well tolerated and often non-specific. Transfusion of red blood cells (RBCs) is a balance between providing benefit for patients while avoiding risks of transfusion. Conservative/restrictive RBC transfusion practices have shown equivalent patient outcomes compared to liberal transfusion practices, and meta-analysis has shown improved in-hospital mortality, reduced cardiac events, re-bleeding, and bacterial infections. The implications for a lower threshold for transfusion in patients with malignancies are therefore increasingly being scrutinized. Alternative management strategies for anemia with IV iron and erythropoietin stimulating agents (ESAs) should be considered in the appropriate settings.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.blre.2015.02.001
View details for PubMedID 25796130