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Gaining sage on the Epoetins' saga: assessing long term risks and advancing towards better Epoetin driven treatment modalities (EPOCAN)
Start date: Oct 1, 2011, End date: Sep 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

EpoCan aims to develop and implement a comprehensive interdisciplinary strategy to assess the long-term risks of erythropoietin (EPO) and its derivatives (epoetins) on tumour growth progression and thromboembolic events in cancer patients, cardiovascular events, and the development of cancer in chronic kidney disease. Approximately 400,000 patients across Europe receive epoetins treatment each year. Recent meta-analysis data have raised concerns over increased mortality in some patient groups. Hence the urgent need to evaluate the risk-benefit ratio of epoetin treatment and its potential long-term effects.EpoCan brings together a multidisciplinary consortium of 12 world leading academic, industrial and medical partners, with long-standing, complementary expertise in haemostasis, oncology and EPO biology. EpoCan aims to (1) Identify, detect and measure possible long-term hazards of epoetin treatment; (2) Develop novel prognostic tools and new complementary therapeutic reagents: (3) Evaluate the risk-benefit ratio to pave the way for new safety and efficacy criteria.EpoCan will: (a) Utilize a wide array of cellular models to thoroughly analyze EPO/EPO receptor(EPO-R)interaction and signalling, to define the relationship between EPO-R expression in tumour samples and the clinical outcome in cancer patients; (b) Establish and test new, personalized, predictive tools (EPO-R peptide antagonists, novel specific anti-EPO-R monoclonal antibodies, thromboembolic tests); (c) Create new murine models as hosts for tumour implantation subjected to EPO and derivatives established above; (d) Screen and analyze clinical databases; (e) Define models to predict hazardous versus safe/beneficial roles of epoetins in the treatment of cancer and kidney failure associated anaemia. Data obtained will be integrated into coherent models using novel computational algorithms developed for EpoCan. Results are expected to have broad ramifications, with special relevance for clinical oncology.

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