Condition category
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status
Results overdue

Plain English Summary

Not provided at time of registration

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Ms Eva Controle


Contact details

Institute of Cancer
Rutland Place
Charterhouse Square
United Kingdom
+44 20 7882 8499

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

2004-002862-39 number


Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

A randomised controlled trial of prolonged treatment with darbepoetin alpha (EPO), with or without recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), versus best supportive care in patients with low-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)



Study hypothesis

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are acquired clonal disorders of the bone marrow. The clinical consequences of MDS are bone marrow failure and a predisposition to develop acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Patients with 'low risk MDS' have less than 10% myeloblasts in the marrow and include the World Health Organization (WHO) subtypes refractory anaemia (RA), refractory anaemia with ring sideroblasts (RARS) and refractory anaemia with excess blasts-I (RAEB-I). This group of patients have a relatively low risk of leukaemic transformation and the major clinical problem is the manifestations of bone marrow failure. Up to 80% of these patients become red cell transfusion dependent.

To date the only curative therapy is allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Unfortunately, a median age at diagnosis of more than 65 years excludes this type of therapy for most patients with MDS. The aim of treatment is, therefore, supportive therapy (long term red cell transfusions).

In this clinical study we are investigating if treatment with an erythropoiesis stimulating agent (darbepoetin alpha) with or without G-CSF therapy can increase haemoglobin concentration and reduce/eliminate red cell transfusion in selected patients with MDS. Our primary endpoints include a measure of erythroid response and quality of life to see if treatment with darbepoetin alpha with/without G-CSF is more effective than best supportive care (long term red cell transfusions).

The trial is a multi-centre, randomised, triple arm, open-label study. We aim to open 40 sites in the UK in the first instance recruiting 360 patients in total. When the eligibility is confirmed, patients will be randomised within 42 days into a 1:1:1 ratio to either:
1. Arm A: Darbepoetin alpha and best supportive care
2. Arm B: Darbepoetin alpha with G-CSF and best supportive care
3. Arm C: Best supportive care only

Ethics approval

Brighton East Research Ethics Committee approved on the 8th November 2004 (ref: 04/Q1907/94)

Study design

Multicentre randomised interventional treatment trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting

GP practices

Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


Topic: National Cancer Research Network; Subtopic: Haematological Oncology; Disease: Leukaemia (acute myeloid)


The treatment schedule uses the concept of 'frontloading' to give patients the highest doses of DA at the start of therapy in order to induce a response as quickly as possible. The long-acting nature of darbepoetin alpha avoids excessive frequency of injections, but allows delivery of high doses of ESA. At week 24, if no response is achieved, the study treatment is deemed to have failed and is stopped and patients will receive 'best supportive care' only.

Arm A: Darbepoetin Alpha (Aranesp®) 500 mcg subcutaneously (s.c.) once every 2 weeks
Arm B: Aranesp® and G-CSF (Neupogen®) 300 mcg s.c. twice a week, 3 - 4 days apart
Arm C: Best supportive care; patients randomised to no growth factor treatment

Study entry: registration and one or more randomisations

Intervention type



Phase III

Drug names

Darbepoetin alpha (EPO), recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF)

Primary outcome measure

Quality of life at 24 weeks

Secondary outcome measures

1. Quality of life at 12, 36 and 52 weeks
2. Overall erythroid response (major and minor) at 24 weeks (main analysis point) and also at 12 and 52 weeks, as defined by the International Working Group criteria
3. Incidence of disease progression
4. Overall survival
5. Economic costs of managing anaemia in each arm of the study

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. A confirmed diagnosis of MDS - WHO type:
1.1. Refractory anaemia (RA)
1.2. Hypoplastic RA ineligible for or failed immunosuppressive therapy (ALG, cyclosporine)
1.3. Refractory anaemia with ring sideroblasts (RARS)
1.4. Refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia
1.5. Myelodysplastic syndrome unclassifiable
2. IPSS low or Int-1, but with BM blasts less than 5%
3. A haemoglobin concentration of less than 10 g/dl and/or red cell transfusion dependence
4. Written informed consent
5. Aged more than 18 years old, no upper limit, either sex

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

Planned sample size: 1200; UK sample size: 360

Participant exclusion criteria

1. MDS with bone marrow blasts greater than or equal to 5%
2. Myelodysplastic syndrome associated with del(5q)(q31-33) syndrome
3. Chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (monocytes greater than 1.0 x 10^9/l)
4. Therapy-related MDS
5. Splenomegaly, with spleen greater than or equal to 5 cm from left costal margin
6. Platelets less than 30 x 10^9/l
7. Uncorrected haematinic deficiency
8. Age less than 18 years
9. Woman who are pregnant or lactating
10. Women of child bearing age unless using reliable contraception
11. Life expectancy less than 6 months
12. Uncontrolled hypertension, previous venous thromboembolism, or uncontrolled cardiac or pulmonary disease
13. Previous adverse events to the study medications or its components
14. Patients who have had previous therapy with EPO ± G-CSF within 4 weeks of study entry
15. Patients currently receiving experimental therapy, e.g. with thalidomide, or who are participating in another clinical trial
16. Medical or psychiatric illness, which makes the patient unsuitable or unable to give, informed consent

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Institute of Cancer
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


Barts and The London NHS Trust (UK)

Sponsor details

Queen Mary's Innovation Centre
5 Walden Street
E1 2EF
United Kingdom

Sponsor type

Hospital/treatment centre



Funder type


Funder name

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) (UK) (ref: C4047)

Alternative name(s)


Funding Body Type

private sector organisation

Funding Body Subtype

Other non-profit organizations


United Kingdom

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

28/02/2019: No publications found, verifying study status with principal investigator. 06/03/2018: No publications found, verifying study status with principal investigator. 09/02/2016: No publications found, verifying study status with principal investigator.