Epoetin-induced pure red-cell aplasia (PRCA): Preliminary results from the research on adverse drug events and reports (RADAR) group

Andrew M. Evens, Charles L. Bennett, Stefano Luminari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In 2002, investigators from France reported 13 patients in whom pure red cell aplasia developed during treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin). We reviewed 208 cases of this syndrome reported worldwide. Adverse event reports describing suspected and confirmed cases of epoetin-associated PRCA in websites maintained by the manufacturers and distributors of epoetin products and other publicly available sources were reviewed. Cases were reported from countries in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia and the United States (US). For >95% of the cases, EPREX had been administered subcutaneous to persons with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and anemia for a mean of nine months prior to diagnosis of PRCA. For 80% of persons with the syndrome, reversal of antibody production and recovery of reticulocytes occurred with discontinuation of epoetin and treatment with immunosuppressive agents. Patients with anemia of CKD who developed neutralizing anti-erythropoietin antibodies and pure red cell aplasia during treatment with epoetin have been identified in a number of countries. In non-US countries, switching renal dialysis patients from subcutaneous to intravenous administration of epoetin alpha and improved handling of the drug appear to have been successful strategies for reducing the occurrence of this toxicity. The decrease in cases occurred coincident with these varied changes, although it is difficult to prove causality. PRCA is a rare, but important side effect of epoetin therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Haematology
Issue number3 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


  • Adverse events
  • Epoetin
  • Erythropoietin
  • Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA)


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