Treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes in elderly patients. | Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation

Treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes in elderly patients.

Journal Title: 
Adv Ther
Sanchez JF
Primary Author: 
Sanchez JF
Original Publication Date: 
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a heterogeneous group of clonal neoplasms with the median age at diagnosis being in the seventh decade. If left untreated, the disease progresses to acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML). There are many options for the management of MDS, but the only potentially curative treatment is allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT), which is often not an option because of advanced age or comorbidities at diagnosis or lack of a human leukocyte antigen-identical donor. MDS in the elderly should be managed similar to that in young patients, but the fact that many advanced age patients cannot undergo allo-HSCT precludes any chance of cure. Despite the main objective of prolonging overall survival and the time to progression to AML, the key is to improve quality of life for the longest possible time. To achieve these objectives, supportive care is essential. Likewise, immunomodulatory drugs, such as lenalidomide, can reduce transfusion requirements and reverse cytologic and cytogenetic abnormalities in patients with MDS with chromosome 5q deletion. Elderly patients with high-risk MDS can benefit from 5-azacitidine (5-AZA), with efficacy and safety profiles comparable with those found in patients under 75 years of age. In any patient, predictive drug response scores are required in order to ensure more rational use of these medications.

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