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H. Joachim Deeg and Marcos de Lima

Myelodysplastic syndrome is primarily a disease of older age, and hematopoietic cell transplantation is the only treatment modality that offers the potential of cure and long-term survival to a substantial proportion of patients. Transplantation is used with increasing frequency in older patients, and patients in the seventh or even eighth decade of life have been transplanted successfully. However, transplant outcome strongly depends on the disease characteristics and comorbid conditions, which tend to be common in older individuals and profoundly affect nonrelapse mortality. This is a major reason why in patients older than 60 years, typically only conditioning regimens of reduced intensity are used. However, although these regimens are associated with little acute toxicity, the probability of relapse tends to be higher than with high-intensity regimens. In addition, chronic graft-versus-host disease occurs in as many as 50% to 60% of patients. Manifestations are mild in a proportion of patients; others require long-term treatment, generally with glucocorticoids, which often are not well tolerated in older individuals. Although considerable progress has been made over the past decade, more work is needed, particularly to reduce the incidence of severe graft-versus-host disease and prevent posttransplant relapse.

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Peter L. Greenberg, Cynthia K. Rigsby, Richard M. Stone, H. Joachim Deeg, Steven D. Gore, Michael M. Millenson, Stephen D. Nimer, Margaret R. O'Donnell, Paul J. Shami and Rashmi Kumar

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) convened a multidisciplinary task force to critically review the evidence for iron chelation and the rationale for treatment of transfusional iron overload in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The task force was charged with addressing issues related to tissue iron toxicity; the role of MRI in assessing iron overload; the rationale and role of treating transfusional iron overload in patients with MDS; and the impact of iron overload on bone marrow transplantation. This report summarizes the background data and ensuing discussion from the NCCN Task Force meeting on transfusional iron overload in MDS.

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Peter L. Greenberg, Eyal Attar, John M. Bennett, Clara D. Bloomfield, Carlos M. De Castro, H. Joachim Deeg, James M. Foran, Karin Gaensler, Guillermo Garcia-Manero, Steven D. Gore, David Head, Rami Komrokji, Lori J. Maness, Michael Millenson, Stephen D. Nimer, Margaret R. O'Donnell, Mark A. Schroeder, Paul J. Shami, Richard M. Stone, James E. Thompson and Peter Westervelt

Overview The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) represent myeloid clonal hemopathies with relatively heterogeneous spectrums of presentation. The major clinical problems in these disorders are morbidities caused by cytopenias and the potential for MDS to evolve into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In the general population, MDS occur in 5 per 100,000 people. However, among individuals older than 70 years, the incidence increases to between 22 and 45 per 100,000 and increases further with age. Managing MDS is complicated by the generally advanced age of the patients (median ages, 65–70 years), attendant nonhematologic comorbidities, and relative inability to tolerate certain intensive forms of therapy among older patients. In addition, when the illness progresses to AML, these patients experience lower response rates to standard therapy than those with de novo AML.1 Diagnostic Classification Initial evaluation of patients with suspected MDS requires careful assessment of their peripheral blood smear and blood counts, marrow morphology, duration of their abnormal blood counts, other potential causes for their cytopenias, and concomitant illnesses. The French-American-British (FAB) classification initially categorized patients for the diagnostic evaluation of MDS.2 Dysplastic changes in at least 2 of the 3 hematopoietic cell lines have been used by most histopathologists to diagnose MDS. These changes include megaloblastoid erythropoiesis, nucleocytoplasmic asynchrony in the early myeloid and erythroid precursors, and dysmorphic megakaryocytes.3 Patients with MDS are classified as having 1 of 5 subtypes of disease: refractory anemia (RA); RA with ringed sideroblasts (RARS); RA with excess of blasts (RAEB); RAEB in transformation (RAEB-T); or chronic myelomonocytic leukemia...
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Peter L. Greenberg, Eyal Attar, John M. Bennett, Clara D. Bloomfield, Uma Borate, Carlos M. De Castro, H. Joachim Deeg, Olga Frankfurt, Karin Gaensler, Guillermo Garcia-Manero, Steven D. Gore, David Head, Rami Komrokji, Lori J. Maness, Michael Millenson, Margaret R. O’Donnell, Paul J. Shami, Brady L. Stein, Richard M. Stone, James E. Thompson, Peter Westervelt, Benton Wheeler, Dorothy A. Shead and Maoko Naganuma

The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) represent a heterogeneous group of clonal hematopoietic disorders characterized by cytopenias, dysplasia in one or more myeloid lineages, and the potential for development of acute myeloid leukemia. These disorders primarily affect older adults. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for MDS provide recommendations on the diagnostic evaluation and classification of MDS, risk evaluation according to established prognostic assessment tools (including the new revised International Prognostic Scoring System), treatment options according to risk categories, and management of related anemia.

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Peter L. Greenberg, Richard M. Stone, Rafael Bejar, John M. Bennett, Clara D. Bloomfield, Uma Borate, Carlos M. De Castro, H. Joachim Deeg, Amy E. DeZern, Amir T. Fathi, Olga Frankfurt, Karin Gaensler, Guillermo Garcia-Manero, Elizabeth A. Griffiths, David Head, Virginia Klimek, Rami Komrokji, Lisa A. Kujawski, Lori J. Maness, Margaret R. O’Donnell, Daniel A. Pollyea, Bart Scott, Paul J. Shami, Brady L. Stein, Peter Westervelt, Benton Wheeler, Dorothy A. Shead and Courtney Smith

The NCCN Guidelines for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) comprise a heterogeneous group of myeloid disorders with a highly variable disease course that depends largely on risk factors. Risk evaluation is therefore a critical component of decision-making in the treatment of MDS. The development of newer treatments and the refinement of current treatment modalities are designed to improve patient outcomes and reduce side effects. These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on the recent updates to the guidelines, which include the incorporation of a revised prognostic scoring system, addition of molecular abnormalities associated with MDS, and refinement of treatment options involving a discussion of cost of care.

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Peter L. Greenberg, Richard M. Stone, Aref Al-Kali, Stefan K. Barta, Rafael Bejar, John M. Bennett, Hetty Carraway, Carlos M. De Castro, H. Joachim Deeg, Amy E. DeZern, Amir T. Fathi, Olga Frankfurt, Karin Gaensler, Guillermo Garcia-Manero, Elizabeth A. Griffiths, David Head, Ruth Horsfall, Robert A. Johnson, Mark Juckett, Virginia M. Klimek, Rami Komrokji, Lisa A. Kujawski, Lori J. Maness, Margaret R. O'Donnell, Daniel A. Pollyea, Paul J. Shami, Brady L. Stein, Alison R. Walker, Peter Westervelt, Amer Zeidan, Dorothy A. Shead and Courtney Smith

The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) comprise a heterogenous group of myeloid disorders with a highly variable disease course. Diagnostic criteria to better stratify patients with MDS continue to evolve, based on morphology, cytogenetics, and the presence of cytopenias. More accurate classification of patients will allow for better treatment guidance. Treatment encompasses supportive care, treatment of anemia, low-intensity therapy, and high-intensity therapy. This portion of the guidelines focuses on diagnostic classification, molecular abnormalities, therapeutic options, and recommended treatment approaches.