To determine the effectiveness of erythropoietin-stimulating agent (ESA) and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (CSF) in reducing blood transfusion needs and neutropenia incidence in community-dwelling elderly ovarian cancer patients.
The SEER (Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results)-Medicare database was used to identify 5572 women with stage III/IV ovarian cancer who received chemotherapy. To assess clinical effectiveness, we categorized patients based on the number of administrations of ESA (ie, epoetin-alfa and darbepoetin-alfa) and CSF (ie, filgrastim and pegfilgrastim). To evaluate effect on survival, patients were categorized as receiving ESA only, CSF only, ESA + CSF, and no ESA/CSF.
Two thirds of patients received growth factor support (24% ESA only, 13% CSF only, 30% ESA + CSF). Depending on the number of epoetin-alfa administrations, ESA was associated with 48% to 56% lower need for blood transfusion compared with no ESA (hazard ratio for 1-3 claims, 0.47; 4-6 claims, 0.52; 7-10 claims, 0.48; ≥11 claims, 0.44). Patients who received at least 3 prophylactic filgrastim administrations had 71% to 98% lower risk of developing neutropenia (hazard ratio for 3-4 claims, 0.29; ≥5 claims, 0.02) compared with those without CSF. Effectiveness was comparable for darbepoetin-alfa and pegfilgrastim use. Overall survival was longer in those who received CSF only; however, the risk of mortality after 24 months was higher in those who received ESA (P = 0.0005). All models were adjusted for relevant covariates.
Erythropoietin-stimulating agents were effective in reducing blood transfusion need. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factors were effective in lowering neutropenia incidence and also were associated with improved survival in elderly ovarian cancer patients. Findings are consistent with clinical trials and clinical guidelines.