Erythropoiesis stimulating agents and reno-protection: a met
Erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs) were proposed to enhance survival of renal tissues through direct effects via activation of EPO receptors on renal cells resulting in reduced cell apoptosis, or indirect effects via increased oxygen delivery due to increased numbers of Hb containing red blood cells. Thus through several mechanisms there may be benefit of ESA administration on kidney disease progression and kidney function in renal patients. However conflicting ESA reno-protection outcomes have been reported in both pre-clinical animal studies and human clinical trials. To better understand the potential beneficial effects of ESAs on renal-patients, meta-analyses of clinical trials is needed.

Literature searches and manual searches of references lists from published studies were performed. Controlled trials that included ESA treatment on renal patients with relevant renal endpoints were selected.

Most ESA trials were small with modest event rates. While trends tended to favor the ESA treatment arm, these meta-analyses showed no reduction of incidence of AKI, no reduction in DGF or improvement in 1-year graft survival after renal transplantation and no significant delay in progression of CKD. These results do not support significant clinical reno-protection by ESAs.