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Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia/Other Myeloid Malignancies Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Myelodysplastic Syndromes


For patients with clinically significant cytopenias, supportive care, including transfusions and prophylactic antibiotics, can be considered, but have not been proven to be curative; however, it is important that supportive care be utilized in these patients awaiting transplant. In addition, the use of hematopoietic growth factors can improve the hematopoietic status, but there is some concern that such treatment could accelerate conversion to AML.[37] Steroid therapy has also been used, including glucocorticoids and androgens, with mixed results.[38] Treatments directed toward scavenging free oxygen radicals with amifostine [39,40] or the use of differentiation-promoting retinoids,[41] DNA methylation inhibitors (e.g., azacytidine and decitabine), and histone deacetylase inhibitors, have all shown some positive responses. Azacytidine has been FDA-approved for the treatment of MDS in adults based on randomized studies.[42] Agents, such as lenalidomide, an analog of thalidomide, have been tested based on findings that demonstrated increased activity in the bone marrow of patients with MDS. Lenalidomide has shown most efficacy in patients with 5q- syndrome and is now FDA-approved for use in this group.[43] Immunosuppression with antithymocyte globulin and/or cyclosporine has also been reported.[43,44]

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

The following are examples of national and/or institutional clinical trials that are currently being conducted.

  • The use of a variety of inhibitors of DNA methylation and histone deacetylase inhibitors, as well as other therapies designed to induce differentiation, are being studied in both young and older adults with MDS.[45,46,47]

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with childhood myelodysplastic syndromes. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


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  3. Nikoloski G, Langemeijer SM, Kuiper RP, et al.: Somatic mutations of the histone methyltransferase gene EZH2 in myelodysplastic syndromes. Nat Genet 42 (8): 665-7, 2010.
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  6. Yoshida K, Sanada M, Shiraishi Y, et al.: Frequent pathway mutations of splicing machinery in myelodysplasia. Nature 478 (7367): 64-9, 2011.
  7. Hasegawa D, Manabe A, Kubota T, et al.: Methylation status of the p15 and p16 genes in paediatric myelodysplastic syndrome and juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia. Br J Haematol 128 (6): 805-12, 2005.
  8. Vidal DO, Paixão VA, Brait M, et al.: Aberrant methylation in pediatric myelodysplastic syndrome. Leuk Res 31 (2): 175-81, 2007.
  9. Alter BP, Giri N, Savage SA, et al.: Malignancies and survival patterns in the National Cancer Institute inherited bone marrow failure syndromes cohort study. Br J Haematol 150 (2): 179-88, 2010.
  10. Rosenberg PS, Zeidler C, Bolyard AA, et al.: Stable long-term risk of leukaemia in patients with severe congenital neutropenia maintained on G-CSF therapy. Br J Haematol 150 (2): 196-9, 2010.
  11. Rosenberg PS, Huang Y, Alter BP: Individualized risks of first adverse events in patients with Fanconi anemia. Blood 104 (2): 350-5, 2004.
  12. Liew E, Owen C: Familial myelodysplastic syndromes: a review of the literature. Haematologica 96 (10): 1536-42, 2011.
  13. Owen C, Barnett M, Fitzgibbon J: Familial myelodysplasia and acute myeloid leukaemia--a review. Br J Haematol 140 (2): 123-32, 2008.
  14. Occhipinti E, Correa H, Yu L, et al.: Comparison of two new classifications for pediatric myelodysplastic and myeloproliferative disorders. Pediatr Blood Cancer 44 (3): 240-4, 2005.
  15. Niemeyer CM, Baumann I: Myelodysplastic syndrome in children and adolescents. Semin Hematol 45 (1): 60-70, 2008.
  16. Niemeyer CM, Kratz CP: Paediatric myelodysplastic syndromes and juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia: molecular classification and treatment options. Br J Haematol 140 (6): 610-24, 2008.
  17. Hasle H: Myelodysplastic and myeloproliferative disorders in children. Curr Opin Pediatr 19 (1): 1-8, 2007.
  18. Mandel K, Dror Y, Poon A, et al.: A practical, comprehensive classification for pediatric myelodysplastic syndromes: the CCC system. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 24 (7): 596-605, 2002.
  19. Nösslinger T, Reisner R, Koller E, et al.: Myelodysplastic syndromes, from French-American-British to World Health Organization: comparison of classifications on 431 unselected patients from a single institution. Blood 98 (10): 2935-41, 2001.
  20. Göhring G, Michalova K, Beverloo HB, et al.: Complex karyotype newly defined: the strongest prognostic factor in advanced childhood myelodysplastic syndrome. Blood 116 (19): 3766-9, 2010.
  21. Haase D, Germing U, Schanz J, et al.: New insights into the prognostic impact of the karyotype in MDS and correlation with subtypes: evidence from a core dataset of 2124 patients. Blood 110 (13): 4385-95, 2007.
  22. Hasle H, Baumann I, Bergsträsser E, et al.: The International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) for childhood myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). Leukemia 18 (12): 2008-14, 2004.
  23. Cutler CS, Lee SJ, Greenberg P, et al.: A decision analysis of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for the myelodysplastic syndromes: delayed transplantation for low-risk myelodysplasia is associated with improved outcome. Blood 104 (2): 579-85, 2004.
  24. Hasle H, Niemeyer CM: Advances in the prognostication and management of advanced MDS in children. Br J Haematol 154 (2): 185-95, 2011.
  25. Uberti JP, Agovi MA, Tarima S, et al.: Comparative analysis of BU and CY versus CY and TBI in full intensity unrelated marrow donor transplantation for AML, CML and myelodysplasia. Bone Marrow Transplant 46 (1): 34-43, 2011.
  26. Nemecek ER, Guthrie KA, Sorror ML, et al.: Conditioning with treosulfan and fludarabine followed by allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation for high-risk hematologic malignancies. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 17 (3): 341-50, 2011.
  27. Woods WG, Barnard DR, Alonzo TA, et al.: Prospective study of 90 children requiring treatment for juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome: a report from the Children's Cancer Group. J Clin Oncol 20 (2): 434-40, 2002.
  28. Parikh SH, Mendizabal A, Martin PL, et al.: Unrelated donor umbilical cord blood transplantation in pediatric myelodysplastic syndrome: a single-center experience. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 15 (8): 948-55, 2009.
  29. Andolina JR, Kletzel M, Tse WT, et al.: Allogeneic hematopoetic stem cell transplantation in pediatric myelodysplastic syndromes: improved outcomes for de novo disease. Pediatr Transplant 15 (3): 334-43, 2011.
  30. Al-Seraihy A, Ayas M, Al-Nounou R, et al.: Outcome of allogeneic stem cell transplantation with a conditioning regimen of busulfan, cyclophosphamide and low-dose etoposide for children with myelodysplastic syndrome. Hematol Oncol Stem Cell Ther 4 (3): 121-5, 2011.
  31. Woodard P, Carpenter PA, Davies SM, et al.: Unrelated donor bone marrow transplantation for myelodysplastic syndrome in children. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 17 (5): 723-8, 2011.
  32. Champlin R: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for treatment of myleodysplastic syndromes. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 17 (1 Suppl): S6-8, 2011.
  33. Nelson RP Jr, Yu M, Schwartz JE, et al.: Long-term disease-free survival after nonmyeloablative cyclophosphamide/fludarabine conditioning and related/unrelated allotransplantation for acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplasia. Bone Marrow Transplant 45 (8): 1300-8, 2010.
  34. Warlick ED: Optimizing stem cell transplantation in myelodysplastic syndromes: unresolved questions. Curr Opin Oncol 22 (2): 150-4, 2010.
  35. Creutzig U, Bender-Götze C, Ritter J, et al.: The role of intensive AML-specific therapy in treatment of children with RAEB and RAEB-t. Leukemia 12 (5): 652-9, 1998.
  36. Strahm B, Nöllke P, Zecca M, et al.: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for advanced myelodysplastic syndrome in children: results of the EWOG-MDS 98 study. Leukemia 25 (3): 455-62, 2011.
  37. Zwierzina H, Suciu S, Loeffler-Ragg J, et al.: Low-dose cytosine arabinoside (LD-AraC) vs LD-AraC plus granulocyte/macrophage colony stimulating factor vs LD-AraC plus Interleukin-3 for myelodysplastic syndrome patients with a high risk of developing acute leukemia: final results of a randomized phase III study (06903) of the EORTC Leukemia Cooperative Group. Leukemia 19 (11): 1929-33, 2005.
  38. Chan G, DiVenuti G, Miller K: Danazol for the treatment of thrombocytopenia in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome. Am J Hematol 71 (3): 166-71, 2002.
  39. Mathew P, Gerbing R, Alonzo TA, et al.: A phase II study of amifostine in children with myelodysplastic syndrome: a report from the Children's Oncology Group study (AAML0121). Pediatr Blood Cancer 57 (7): 1230-2, 2011.
  40. Schanz J, Jung H, Wörmann B, et al.: Amifostine has the potential to induce haematologic responses and decelerate disease progression in individual patients with low- and intermediate-1-risk myelodysplastic syndromes. Leuk Res 33 (9): 1183-8, 2009.
  41. Sadek I, Zayed E, Hayne O, et al.: Prolonged complete remission of myelodysplastic syndrome treated with danazol, retinoic acid and low-dose prednisone. Am J Hematol 64 (4): 306-10, 2000.
  42. Silverman LR, Demakos EP, Peterson BL, et al.: Randomized controlled trial of azacitidine in patients with the myelodysplastic syndrome: a study of the cancer and leukemia group B. J Clin Oncol 20 (10): 2429-40, 2002.
  43. Yazji S, Giles FJ, Tsimberidou AM, et al.: Antithymocyte globulin (ATG)-based therapy in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes. Leukemia 17 (11): 2101-6, 2003.
  44. Yoshimi A, Baumann I, Führer M, et al.: Immunosuppressive therapy with anti-thymocyte globulin and cyclosporine A in selected children with hypoplastic refractory cytopenia. Haematologica 92 (3): 397-400, 2007.
  45. Mufti G, List AF, Gore SD, et al.: Myelodysplastic syndrome. Hematology (Am Soc Hematol Educ Program) : 176-99, 2003.
  46. Esteller M: DNA methylation and cancer therapy: new developments and expectations. Curr Opin Oncol 17 (1): 55-60, 2005.
  47. Bhalla K, List A: Histone deacetylase inhibitors in myelodysplastic syndrome. Best Pract Res Clin Haematol 17 (4): 595-611, 2004.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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