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Reinhard Stauder, Thomas Nösslinger, Michael Pfeilstöcker, Wolfgang R. Sperr, Friedrich Wimazal, Otto Krieger, and Peter Valent

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) represent a heterogeneous group of myeloid neoplasms that are preferentially diagnosed in the elderly. With the increase in older patients with MDS in the Western world and the availability of more therapeutic options, new strategies and algorithms for optimal management and treatment of these patients must be developed. Although age is recognized as an important adverse variable affecting survival, most scoring systems have not included age in score risk calculations. Comorbidity is of particular importance and a frequent covariable in elderly patients with MDS. However, although comorbidity scores have been established and used for risk assessment in younger high-risk patients scheduled to undergo intensive therapy, these scores are only just being applied to elderly patients, with relevant results. Advanced age should not exclude a patient with MDS from appropriate treatment, and age alone should not be considered a surrogate marker for functional decline or comorbidities. This article discusses the need to improve scoring systems, individualized risk-assessment, and treatment algorithms for elderly patients with MDS by including age and comorbidities.