Ten trials were included in the review (2,866 patients, range 45 to 1,303). The length of follow-up ranged from zero weeks to four years (where stated).
Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents were associated with no statistically significant difference in mortality (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.34;Ι²=14%; nine trials) or disease progression (OR 1.02, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.30; Ι²=0%; five trials) compared with control.
The incidence of transfusions ranged from 19% to 63% in erythropoiesis-stimulating agent group and 28% to 82% in the control group. Thromboembolic events were not well reported in the trials, but ranged from 0 to 9% in the erythropoiesis-stimulating agent group and 0 to 4% in the control group.
Sensitivity analyses using risk differences did not significantly alter the results.