Experience with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) in the treatment of the anemia secondary to myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia (MMM) is limited.There are a number of reports of small numbers of patiens demonstrating responsiveness but also a recent report which presents a picture of non-responsiveness of transfusion dependent myelofibrosis to erythropoietin therapy.
Initial studies failed to show significant improvements in hemoglobin levels upon administration of recombinant erythropoietin (rEpo). However, more recent investigations have demonstrated significant responses and decreased transfusion dependence in anemic patients with CIMF. The rEpo doses employed in those studies were in the range of 300–1,500 U/kg weekly. This finding underscores the current uncertainty about the optimal dose and schedule of rEpo in this disease. It is important to note that many patients with CIMF have normal serum erythropoietin levels, suggesting a potential lack of efficacy of rEpo in this setting . Rodriguez et al. [ showed that a serum erythropoietin level <123 mU/ml was highly predictive of response to rEpo. This was recently corroborated by Cervantes et al.  in a study in which rEpo was given at an initial dose of 10,000 U three times per week to 20 patients with CIMF. Nine patients (45%) responded, including four who achieved normal hemoglobin levels. A serum erythropoietin level <125 mU/ml was associated with a favorable response to rEpo in the multivariate analysis. The combination of rEpo and thalidomide may represent a valid approach for patients with advanced CIMF
Future investigation will focus on stratification. Favorable cytogenetic findings was associated with response to erythropoietin therapy in one study.
In summary, there is sufficient evidence that Procrit raises Hb levels in many myelofibrosis patients. How to select patients is not entirely clear yet and at this time, a trial for effectivenesss is standard practice.It is not known whetehr it is a better long – term approach than periodic transfusions
Tsiara S, Kapsali H, Dimos GA, Chaidos A, Stoura M, Bourantas LK, Tzouvara E, Bourantas KL:
Treatment of anemia with recombinant human erythropoietin administration in patients with myelofibrosis, Archives of Hellenic Medicine 20 (3) : 281-285 (May 2003)
S.N. Tsiara, A. Chaidos, L.K. Bourantas, H.D. Kapsali, K.L. BourantasRecombinant Human Erythropoietin for the Treatment of Anaemia in Patients with Chronic Idiopathic Myelofibrosis Heamatoloica Vol. 117, No. 3, 2007
EAuthor Huang, J. Lasho, T.L. Li, C.Y. Pardanani, A.D. Mesa, R.A. Tefferi, A.
rythropoietin Therapy Does Not Benefit Transfusion-Dependent Primary Myelofibrosis Patients and Treatment Response Is Infrequent with a Baseline Hemoglobin Level >or= 10 g/dL
BLOOD 2007, VOL 110; pages 3555
Tefferi A, Lasho TL, Schwager SM et al. The JAK2(V617F) tyrosine kinase mutation in myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia: lineage specificity and clinical correlates. Br J Haematol 2005;131:320–328