[en] PURPOSE: After allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with nonmyeloablative conditioning (NMHCT), many patients experience prolonged anemia and require red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. We enrolled 60 consecutive patients undergoing NMHCT in a phase II trial to determine the optimal utilization of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) therapy in this setting. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The first 14 NMHCT recipients did not receive rHuEPO (control group). Nineteen patients were scheduled to start rHuEPO on day 0 (EPO group 2) and 27 patients on day 28 after the transplant (EPO group 1). RHuEPO was administered subcutaneously once weekly at a dose of 500 U/kg/wk with the aim of achieving hemoglobin (Hb) levels of 13 g/dL. The 3 groups were well balanced for major characteristics. RESULTS: During the first month (p < 0.0001) as well as days 30 to 100 (p < 0.0001) and days 100 to 180 (p < 0.0001), Hb values were higher in patients receiving rHuEPO compared to those not receiving it. However, transfusion requirements were significantly decreased only in the first month in EPO group 2 (p = 0.0169). T-cell chimerism above 60% on day 42 was the best predictor of Hb response (p < 0.0001) or Hb correction (p = 0.0217), but myeloid chimerism above 90% also predicted for Hb response (p = 0.0069). Hb response was also decreased in patients receiving CD8-depleted grafts and increased in the few patients not receiving TBI, but only in univariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Anemia after NMHCT is sensitive to rHuEPO therapy, but less so than after conventional allogeneic HCT. RHuEPO decreases transfusion requirements only in the first 30 days posttransplant. T-cell chimerism below 60% on day 42 impaired Hb response, suggesting possible inhibition of donor erythropoiesis by residual recipient lymphocytes. A prospective randomized trial should be performed with rHuEPO starting on the day of transplantation to assess its clinical benefit in terms of transfusion requirements and quality of life.