Skip to content

    Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Myelodysplastic Syndromes Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information About Myelodysplastic Syndromes

    Incidence and Mortality

    The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a collection of myeloid malignancies characterized by one or more peripheral blood cytopenias. MDS are diagnosed in slightly more than 10,000 people in the United States yearly, for an annual age-adjusted incidence rate of approximately 4.4 to 4.6 cases per 100,000 people.[1] They are more common in men and whites. The syndromes may arise de novo or secondarily after treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for other cancers or, rarely, after environmental exposures.

    Recommended Related to

    Rh Disease

    Important It is possible that the main title of the report Rh Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Read the Rh Disease article > >

    Prognosis

    Prognosis is directly related to the number of bone marrow blast cells, to certain cytogenetic abnormalities, and to the amount of peripheral blood cytopenias. By convention, MDS are reclassified as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with myelodysplastic features when blood or bone marrow blasts reach or exceed 20%. Many patients succumb to complications of cytopenias before progression to this stage. (Refer to the Pathologic and Prognostic Systems for Myelodysplastic Syndromes section of this summary for more information.) The acute leukemic phase is less responsive to chemotherapy than is de novo AML.

    Pathology

    MDS are characterized by abnormal bone marrow and blood cell morphology. Megaloblastoid erythroid hyperplasia with macrocytic anemia, associated with normal vitamin B12 and folate levels, is frequently observed. Circulating granulocytes are often hypogranular or hypergranular, and may display the acquired pseudo-Pelger-Huët abnormality. Early, abnormal myeloid progenitors are identified in the marrow in varying percentages. Abnormally small megakaryocytes (micromegakaryocytes) may be seen in the marrow and hypogranular or giant platelets may appear in the blood.

    Clinical Features

    MDS occur predominantly in older patients (usually those older than 60 years), with a median age at diagnosis of approximately 70 years,[2] although patients as young as 2 years have been reported.[3] Anemia, bleeding, easy bruising, and fatigue are common initial findings. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Fatigue for more information.) Splenomegaly or hepatosplenomegaly may indicate an overlapping myeloproliferative neoplasm. Approximately 50% of patients have a detectable cytogenetic abnormality, most commonly a deletion of all or part of chromosome 5 or 7, or trisomy 8. Single-nucleotide polymorphism array technology may increase the detection of genetic abnormalities to 80%.[4,5] Although the bone marrow is usually hypercellular at diagnosis, 10% of patients present with a hypoplastic bone marrow.[6] Hypoplastic myelodysplastic patients tend to have profound cytopenias and may respond more frequently to immunosuppressive therapy.

    1 | 2
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man holding lung xray
    What you need to know.
    stem cells
    How they work for blood cancers.
     
    woman wearing pink ribbon
    Separate fact from fiction.
    Colorectal cancer cells
    Symptoms, screening tests, and more.
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article