Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are bone marrow disorders characterized by anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia (low red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet counts). Patients with MDS are at risk for symptomatic anemia, infection, and bleeding, as well as a risk of progression to acute leukemia. Standard treatments for MDS have significant relapse rates. MDS patients with thrombocytopenia who fail standard therapies require regular, expensive, and inconvenient platelet transfusions, and are at risk for further serious bleeding complications.
Eltrombopag is a drug designed to mimic the protein thrombopoietin, which causes the body to make more platelets. Eltrombopag has been able to increase platelet counts in healthy volunteers and in patients with chronic ITP (a disease where patients destroy their own platelets very rapidly and thus develop thrombocytopenia), but researchers do not know if the drug can increase platelet counts in patients with MDS.
To find out whether eltrombopag can improve platelet counts in patients with MDS.
To determine whether eltrombopag is safe for patients with MDS.