Introduction: Hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase domain inhibitors (HIF-PHI) are a new treatment for renal anemia. HIF-PHI is believed to increase iron usage to improve availability of iron for erythropoiesis. Therefore, there is concern that HIF-PHI might be prone to iron deficiency and that thrombosis might be induced by increased platelet and transferrin levels due to this iron deficiency. Methods: Relationship of iron-related factors with platelet count (PLT) and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC; which reflects the transferrin level) were examined in 29 patients who were treated with darbepoetin alfa (DA) and then switched to roxadustat (Rox). To determine how changes in PLT and TIBC related to changes in iron-related factors, univariable and multivariable linear regression models were applied. To examine what iron-related factors on Day 0 influenced change in PLT, we used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and logistic regression analysis for a rate of change in PLT ≤0% as the endpoint. Logistic regression analysis was performed with the reference group having serum ferritin (s-ft) or Transferrin saturation below the corresponding cutoff value (low vs. high). Results: Multivariable analysis showed significant positive correlations between the rate of change in PLT and the change in s-ft and red blood cells (RBC) count {β-coefficients; 0.40 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.17–0.62], p = 0.001} (β-coefficients; 30.45 [95% CI: 10.90–50.00], p = 0.004). The rate of change in TIBC was significantly positively correlated with only the change in RBC count. The ROC showed a significant cutoff value for s-ft of 77.2 ng/mL (sensitivity 63.6%, specificity 83.3%, area under the curve 0.76, 95% CI 0.55–0.96). Multivariable logistic regression also showed that only high s-ft was significantly elevated (9.46, 95% CI 1.42–63.30, p = 0.020). Conclusions: This study showed that changes in PLT were correlated with s-ft and amount of hematopoiesis. This suggests that an increase in PLT due to iron levels is less likely when s-ft is 77.2 ng/mL or higher at the time of switching from DA to Rox. In contrast, TIBC was only related to hematopoiesis in these patients. Control of s-ft before initiation of HIF-PHI treatment and gradual hematopoiesis might reduce the risk of thrombosis when switching from erythropoiesis-stimulating agents to HIF-PHI.

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