Anemia Treatment Benefits Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Can improve survival without affecting leukemia risk

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow malignancy, treatment with erythropoietin plus granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) for anemia can improve survival without affecting the risk of leukemia, according to a report published online June 16 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Martin Jadersten, M.D., from Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues compared long-term outcomes in 358 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, where 121 patients were treated with erythropoietin plus G-CSF and 237 patients were untreated.

The researchers found that 39 percent of patients treated with erythropoietin plus G-CSF had an erythroid response for a median of 23 months. Treated patients had a significant improvement in overall survival (hazard ratio 0.61), which was primarily seen in patients requiring less than two units of red blood cells per month. There was no link between treatment and the rate of acute myeloid leukemia, the report indicates.

"We conclude that treatment of anemia in myelodysplastic syndrome with erythropoietin plus G-CSF may have a positive impact on outcome in patients with no or low transfusion need, while not affecting the risk of leukemic transformation," Jadersten and colleagues write.

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