Quick Quiz: Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Page 1 of 7: Myelodysplastic syndromes


Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of diverse disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. Although it is primarily a disease of the elderly, MDS can affect younger patients as well.1,2 The number of individuals diagnosed with MDS in the United States each year is not known for sure, but estimates range from approximately 10,000 to 30,000-55,000.2,3 The incidence rate of MDS appears to be on the rise, which may be due to improvements in recognition and criteria for the diagnosis of the disease, as well as an increase in the aging population.2,3 How much do you know about MDS?

MDS are a heterogeneous group of blood and bone marrow disorders characterized by clonal and ineffective hematopoiesis, morphological dysplasia, peripheral blood cytopenias, and progressive bone marrow failure.4 The disease can be classified as primary (de novo) or secondary to aggressive treatment of other cancers.1,2 Death from MDS is often caused by bleeding and/or infection from low blood cell counts or after disease progresses to acute myeloid leukemia, which occurs in approximately 1 in 3 patients.3 The median 5-year survival rates for MDS can vary signficantly—from 11.8 years for patients with very-low risk disease to 9 months for those with very high-risk disease.3 Public awareness of MDS needs to remain a priority to increase survival rates and improve patient quality of life.