MPORTANCE OF THE FIELD:
Despite the remarkable progress in the treatment of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) in the past decade, response to the hypomethylating agents azacitidine and decitabine in non-del(5q) MDS patients remains at approximately 50%, leaving half of patients needing treatment with essentially no options. As biologic insight into the molecular pathways that account for disease evolution and clinical heterogeneity is expanded, the arsenal of potential drugs that may elicit significant response is also increasing. One of the greatest challenges for the treating physician is to decide when to initiate therapy and which therapy (approved drug or newer agents still in clinical trial) is likely to be the most beneficial. While there is no single answer to these issues, there are several approaches that may be considered, and these are addressed in this review.
AREAS COVERED IN THIS REVIEW:
This review examines the clinical outcomes of the FDA-approved drugs as well as of the promising new therapies that are in current clinical trials.
WHAT THE READER WILL GAIN:
The clinician now has multiple treatment options for patients with MDS. It is important to consider multiple factors before initiating therapy with disease-modifying drugs. This review presents some of the decision-making approaches that are in practice at present.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE:
For the first time, various treatment options are available for patients with MDS. In light of the intense efforts now in progress, the next decade promises to be one of hope and excitement for both MDS patients and treating clinicians.