Medicina (Buenos Aires)
versión On-line ISSN 1669-9106
Recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEpo) has become the most widely used cytokine in the world. Following the success of its use in patients with end-stage renal disease, the usefulness of rHuEpo to ameliorate other anemias was assessed, including pediatric patients and newborn infants. The treatment or prevention of anemia of prematurity with rHuEpo resulted in a significant reduction in the number of transfusions and donor exposure. A clear definition of which premature babies must receive therapy needs yet to be established. Other indications in neonatal period include hyporegenerative and hemolytic anemias. With the exception of chronic renal failure, in older children the efficacy of rHuEpo has not been evaluated as in adults. While an impressive amount of studies were carried out during the last years in adult patients with cancer-related or HIV-infection-related anemias, allowing to establish clear conclusions on its efficacy, only a few trials with small number of patients have been reported in children. Up to date, results in pediatric patients suggest that rHuEpo therapy is as useful as in adult patients, but prospective, randomized trials including large number of patients are essential to achieve definitive conclusions. Results of studies designed to evaluate the efficacy of rHuEpo for sustaining an adequate dose of ribavirin in patients receiving treatment for hepatitis C are encouraging. The potential for use of the non-hematopoietic effects of rHuEpo in newborn infants is a novel and exciting issue. The role of rHuEpo as a tissue protective factor for central nervous system and intestinal mucosa is under exhaustive investigation.
Palabras clave : erythropoietin; anemia of prematurity; neuroprotection; cancer; HIV infection; renal failure; hemolytic uremic syndrome.