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Semin Hematol. 2008 Jan;45(1):14-22. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2007.10.004.

Supportive care and use of hematopoietic growth factors in myelodysplastic syndromes.

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Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.


Supportive care constitutes the basis of the management of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Appropriate treatment of cytopenia, as well as of other related complications, not only improves quality of life but also may positively affect the overall survival of patients. Anemia is the most common cytopenia in MDS, and the requirement for regular transfusions is a major clinical problem for patients with low-risk MDS. An important therapeutic goal in this patient group is to maintain acceptable hemoglobin levels without transfusions. Today, this goal can be achieved by treatment with erythropoietin (Epo) +/- granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), or by more targeted treatment such as antithymocyte globulin or lenalidomide in around 50% of patients. For the remaining patients, and for those who lose their therapeutic response, chronic transfusion therapy, with or without the addition of chelating agents, is the only option and it is important that this treatment is scheduled to meet the needs of the individual patient. Severe thrombocytopenia has recently been reported to respond to thrombopoietic agents, such as AMG 531.

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