Approval of new agents to treat higher risk (HR) myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) has stalled since the approval of DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi). In addition, the options for patients with lower risk (LR) MDS who have high transfusion needs and do not harbor ring sideroblasts or 5q- syndrome are limited. Here, we review the current treatment landscape in MDS and identify areas of unmet need, such as treatment after failure of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents or DNMTis, TP53-mutated disease, and MDS with potentially targetable mutations. We discuss how our understanding of MDS pathogenesis can inform therapy development, including treating HR-MDS similarly to AML and pursuing therapies to address splicing factor mutations and dysregulated inflammation. We then bring a critical lens to current methodology of MDS studies and propose solutions to improve the efficiency and yield of these clinical trials, including using the most meaningful response metrics and expanding enrollment.
- myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)