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Cancer. 2007 Apr 15;109(8):1536-42.

Myelodysplastic syndromes: incidence and survival in the United States.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.



Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) became reportable to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (the United States cancer surveillance program) in 2001. This provided the first opportunity to examine the incidence and survival of patients with MDS in the United States using a large, population-based database.


The SEER 17 regions public-use database (November 2005 submission) was accessed to obtain data on the frequency, incidence, and survival of patients with MDS. Geographic areas were selected for inclusion in the SEER Program based on their ability to operate and maintain a high-quality, population-based cancer reporting system and for their epidemiologically significant population subgroups.


SEER data from 2001 through 2003 indicated that the risk of MDS increased with age, and approximately 86% of MDS cases were diagnosed in individuals aged > or =60 years (median age at diagnosis = 76 years). Men had a significantly higher incidence rate than women (4.5 vs 2.7 per 100,000 per year). Among racial groups, white individuals had the highest incidence rate. In 2003, approximately 10,300 incident cases of MDS were diagnosed in the United States. The survival of MDS patients was poor, with an observed 3-year survival rate of only 35% (5-year survival data were not available at the time of the current report). Male patients and patients who were diagnosed at an older age had significantly worse survival. MDS survival also varied by clinical subtype, and the survival of patients who had refractory anemia was somewhat worse than reported previously. The availability of descriptive epidemiologic data on MDS can be used now to facilitate much needed research on the etiology and outcome of MDS.


The current results indicated that >10,000 incident cases of MDS are diagnosed annually in the United States, and the survival of patients with MDS is poor. The availability of descriptive epidemiologic data on MDS can be used now to facilitate much needed research on the etiology and outcomes of MDS.

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