Patients with colorectal cancer are frequently anaemic and many receive allogeneic red blood cell transfusions peri and post-operatively. Transfusions are accompanied by complications and may increase the rate of recurrence in patients who have a colorectal resection. Recombinant erythropoietin was first used in dialysis patients and more recently in orthopedic surgery to facilitate autologous transfusions. Erythropoietin levels are thought to be lower in cancer patients and erythropoietin is widely used in chemotherapy to treat anaemia and improve quality of life. There may be adverse events associated with its use. Several studies have investigated erythropoietin in colorectal cancer surgery.