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Expert Rev Hematol. 2017 Apr;10(4):345-364. doi: 10.1080/17474086.2017.1297704. Epub 2017 Mar 9.

Management of lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes without del5q: current approach and future trends.

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a Section of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Hematology, Yale University and the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center , Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven , CT , USA.


Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are characterized by progressive bone marrow failure manifesting as blood cytopenia and a variable risk of progression into acute myeloid leukemia. MDS is heterogeneous in biology and clinical behavior. MDS are generally divided into lower-risk (LR) and higher-risk (HR) MDS. Goals of care in HR-MDS focus on changing the natural history of the disease, whereas in LR-MDS symptom control and quality of life are the main goals. Areas covered: We review the epidemiology, tools of risk assessment, and the available therapeutic modalities for LR-MDS. We discuss the use of erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs), immunosuppressive therapy (IST), lenalidomide and the hypomethylating agents (HMAs). We also discuss the predictors of response, combination treatment modalities, and management of iron overload. Lastly, we overview the most promising investigational agents for LR-MDS. Expert commentary: It remains unclear how to best incorporate a wealth of new genetic and epigenetic prognostic markers into risk assessment tools especially for LR-MDS patients. Only a subset of patients respond to current treatment modalities and most responders eventually lose their response. Once standard therapeutic options fail, management becomes more challenging. Combination-based approaches have been largely unsuccessful. Among the most promising investigational are the TPO agonists, TGF- β pathway inhibitors, telomerase inhibitors, and the splicing modifiers.


Myelodysplastic syndrome; epigenetics; erythropoiesis stimulating agents; hypomethylating agents; immunosuppressive therapy; lenalidomide; lower-risk

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