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Michael Auerbach and Harold Ballard

Edited by Kerrin G. Robinson

Intravenous iron (IV Fe) as an adjunct to therapy with erythropoiesis-stimulatory agents (ESAs) is standard care in dialysis-associated anemia, adding huge increments in hemoglobin and hematopoietic responses and decreased transfusions without significant toxicity. Cost savings, decreased exposure to ESAs, and decreased times to reach target hemoglobins are realized. Although similar benefits have been seen in all studies performed in patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia (CIA), experts are reluctant to incorporate routine use of IV Fe into treatment, largely because of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the clinical nature of adverse events reportedly associated with its administration. IV Fe is therefore underused in oncology patients with anemia. Published experience with more than 1000 patients in clinical trials involving the use of IV Fe suggests minimal toxicity and substantial benefit are experienced when high molecular weight iron dextran is avoided. This article presents evidence recommending routine incorporation of IV Fe into treatment for CIA.