Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a spectrum of clonal stem-cell disorders characterized clinically by bone-marrow failure. Resultant cytopenias are responsible for significant mortality and decreased quality of life in patients with MDS. In patients with low-risk MDS (LR-MDS), anemia is the most common cytopenia and erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA) are usually used as first-line therapy. Those patients who become refractory to ESA have a poor survival. Available treatment options such as lenalidomide, hypomethylating agents, and immunosuppressive therapy can provide some hematologic response among selected subsets of patients, however durable responses are limited, and these agents can carry significant adverse effects. Chronic transfusions help to alleviate symptoms of anemia but still carry risks associated with transfusion and iron overload. Luspatercept, recently approved for those LR-MDS with ring sideroblasts refractory to ESA, was found to have an improvement in transfusion independence with a well-tolerated safety profile. While anemia is the most common cytopenia, thrombocytopenia and neutropenia management is challenging and the co-occurrence of these cytopenias with anemia may dictate the choice of therapy. In this article, we review LR-MDS and discuss the optimal use of current treatment options and explore new therapeutic options on the horizon.
- myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)