Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents are not associated with increased risk of thrombosis in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes

Sheila Weiss Smith, Masayo Sato, Steven D. Gore, Maria R. Baer, Xuehua Ke, Diane Mcnally, Amy Davidoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:There are limited reports of thrombosis among myelodysplastic syndrome patients exposed to erythropoiesis stimulating agents. It is not clear whether erythropoiesis stimulating agents are associated with an increased risk of thrombosis in myelodysplastic syndromes, as they are among patients with solid tumors.Design and Methods The association between use of erythropoiesis stimulating agent and transient thrombosis risk in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes was assessed in a case-crossover study nested within a cohort of incident myelodysplastic syndrome patients. Using the US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Medicare-linked database, cases with an incident diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis were identified. Using conditional logistical regression, the odds of exposure to erythropoiesis stimulating agents in the 12 weeks prior to the incident deep vein thrombosis (hazard period) was compared to the exposure odds in a prior 12-week comparison period. Results Within the cohort of eligibles with myelodysplastic syndromes (n=5,673) there were 212 incident cases of deep vein thrombosis events. Mean age was 76.2 (standard deviation=±8.6) years. Use of erythropoiesis stimulating agents was not associated with deep vein thrombosis in the crude nor the adjusted models (OR=1.21, 95% CI: 0.60, 2.43). Central venous catheter placement (OR=6.47, 95% CI: 2.37, 17.62) and red blood cell transfusion (OR=4.60, 95% CI: 2.29, 9.23) were associated with deep vein thrombosis. Conclusions Despite the link between use of erythropoiesis stimulating agents and thrombosis among patients with solid tumors, this study provides evidence that their safety profile may be different among patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Case-crossover
  • Drug safety
  • Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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