The following article features coverage from the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2019. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Intravenous ferric carboxymalotose (FCM) is a form of injectable iron that has been shown to be effective in treating anemia and preventing the need for blood transfusions. In a recent study, researchers evaluated the efficacy of intravenous FCM compared with physician’s choice of therapy in treating chemotherapy-induced anemia in patients with breast cancer.

The results of the study were recently presented at ESMO Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. The study included a subset of 125 patients from the larger GeparOcto trial comparing 2 dose-dense, dose-intensified approaches for neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment. “This is the first study investigating IV iron treatment for dose-dense chemotherapy-induced anemia in breast cancer,” noted the researchers of the sub-study. 

In the sub-study, patients with anemia grade 2 or higher (hemoglobin [Hb] <10 g/dl), transferrin saturation (TSAT) 20% or greater, and serum ferritin less than 300 ng/mL (amended to less than 600 ng/mL) were randomized into 2 groups. One group received FCM weekly, whereas the other group received physician’s choice of anemia treatment weekly. Physician’s choice treatment options included no treatment, oral iron, erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, or both.

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Fewer than expected patients had chemotherapy-induced anemia. After six weeks, 22 patients from the FCM group and 18 patients from the physician’s choice group achieved Hb level of 11 g/dl or more. The median time to Hb levels of 211 g/dl or more was 9 weeks for the FCM group and 10.6 weeks for the physician’s choice group. Two patients in the FCM group and 5 patients in the physician’s choice group received blood transfusions until 6 weeks of therapy.

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Overall, FCM treatment did not provide any added benefit compared with traditional physician choice in treating chemotherapy-induced anemia. 


Tesch H, Loibl S, Kast K, et al. Chemotherapy (CT)-induced anaemia in patients (pts) treated with dose-dense regimen: results of the prospectively randomised anaemia substudy from the neoadjuvant GeparOcto study. Presented at: ESMO Congress 2019; September 27-October 1, 2019; Barcelona, Spain. Abstract 195P.