Cancers of the Esophagus and Stomach
Iron deficiency anemia in gastric cancer: A single site retrospective cohort study.
Background: Gastric cancer is highly prevalent amongst men and women. While many studies have identified the prevalence and association of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in all cancer patients, few have focused on the gastric cancer population. The primary objective of this study was to determine the proportion of patients with gastric cancer who developed IDA, and chemotherapy induced anemia (CIA) at our institution. Secondary objectives were to identify types and frequencies of IDA therapies used. Methods: A retrospective study was carried out in 110 consecutive gastric cancer patients from 2006 to 2014 at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada. Patient demographics, previous history of IDA, and IDA based therapies were reviewed. IDA was defined as hemoglobin (Hb) < 130 g/L in men and < 120g/L in women and iron deficiency (ID) was defined as a ferritin < 15m/L. SAS 9.3 was used to calculate frequencies and proportions. Results: Of the 110 patients (median age 68.5 [interquartile range (IQR): 58-76]), 72 (65%) were male. Most patients were diagnosed at stage IV (35%) with a mean Hb of 118 g/L (standard deviation (SD): 19.7 g/L). Only 18 (16%) patients had a history of IDA prior to cancer diagnosis, and 63 (57%) had IDA at time of gastric cancer diagnosis. Only 29 patients (45%) had ferritin levels tested at first oncology visit. Of the 110 patients, 71 patients had an open (32%) or laparoscopic (68%) surgery. A total of 66 patients received chemotherapy, and 50 (76%) developed CIA. In this sample, 9 (14%) experienced a chemotherapy dose delay and 20 (30%) had a dose reduction. At last follow up, 87 (79%) of patients were diagnosed with IDA. Red blood cell (RBC) transfusions were most frequently prescribed (95%), compared to oral (29%) or intravenous iron (12%). Conclusions: A total of 87 (79%) gastric cancer patients were diagnosed with IDA and nearly all patients received a RBC transfusion. We found that the diagnosis of IDA increased by 22% from the time of gastric cancer diagnosis to last follow up. There was a high proportion of IDA in our gastric cancer population despite inconsistent screening for ID. This highlights the need for consistent screening and targeted therapy for ID to reduce transfusions and improve quality of life in this patient population.