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Scoring system identifies MDS patients who have low-risk disease but a poor prognosis
Date:12/21/2007

HOUSTON - A new scoring system for a form of leukemia known as myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) identifies patients who appear to have low-risk disease but actually have poor prospects of survival, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report online at the journal Leukemia.

"We know an undefined group of MDS patients who are classified as low-risk by our present prognostic models will at some point have a sudden worsening of their disease. Right now, we don't know who these people are, but if we can identify them, we can start those with a poor prognosis on early treatment," says lead author Guillermo Garcia-Manero, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Leukemia.

Physicians tend to adopt a watch and wait approach to low-risk MDS patients, which Garcia-Manero says misses low-risk/poor prognosis patients. Myelodysplastic Syndromes are a group of conditions that cause insufficient production of blood cells, which is often lethal. About 10 percent of patients have their MDS transform into acute myelogenous leukemia.

Garcia-Manero and colleagues examined a number of potential molecular and demographic markers to develop a prognostic scoring system for this group by applying them to 856 patients treated at M. D. Anderson between 1976 and 2005. All were rated low or intermediate risk by the International Prognostic Scoring System, the mainstay model.

They found that a combination of older age, low platelet counts, anemia, a higher percentage of cancerous cells, or blasts, in the bone marrow and poor-risk cytogenetics (aberrant chromosomes) divided the 856 patients into three clearly defined groups:

  • The 182 patients who had few of these characteristics (Category 1) had a median survival of 80.3 months.
  • The 408 patients who fell into Category 2, an intermediate score, had a median survival of 26.6 months.
  • The 265 patients with the highest score h
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Contact: Scott Merville
smervil@mdanderson.org
713-745-2457
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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