Elevated levels of serum erythropoietin (EPO) occur in patients with anemias due to increased red cell.
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone produced primarily by the kidneys. It plays a key role in the production of red blood cells (RBCs), which carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. This test measures the amount of erythropoietin in the blood.
If too much erythropoietin is produced, as occurs with some benign or malignant kidney tumors and with a variety of other cancers, too many RBCs may be produced (polycythemia or erythrocytosis). This can lead to an increase in the blood's thickness (viscosity) and sometimes to high blood pressure (hypertension), blood clots (thrombosis), heart attack, or stroke.