Considerations for Practice

Using intravenous iron to achieve haemoglobin targets in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) on haemodialysis is more cost-effective than oral iron, a new study indicates. The research also suggests that intravenous iron may better improve survival and quality of life, implying that this treatment approach should be adopted for this patient population.

New data has confirmed the validity of the widely used haemoglobin thresholds for the diagnosis of iron deficiency and anaemia. The new analyses also confirm the adverse effect of both anaemia and low haemoglobin on survival in men, independently of other major risk factors. The study shows that, for men, both mild and more severe anaemia are significantly associated with reduced survival, compared with men with normal haemoglobin levels, as defined using the World Health Organization thresholds.

A review exploring the role of iron in the onset and progression of cancer has suggested that a greater understanding of the hepcidin–ferroportin system may lead to the identification of novel treatment targets for cancer patients.

Iron is essential for many physiological functions, and cancer-related deficiency leading to anaemia decreases patient performance status and quality of life, and can also negatively affect overall patient outcomes. Besides being a crucial stimulus for cancer proliferation, iron dysfunction may also originate new tumours.

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