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Anemic Patients With MDS Gain Long-Term Benefits From Erythropoietin and Myeloid Growth Factor Hormones
Date:9/17/2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a group of blood disorders that can lead to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in some patients, often cause severe anemia (when the body lacks a sufficient number of functional red blood cells). While certain treatments can help manage the symptoms of anemia, some studies have suggested that they may lead to complications. A new study, however, demonstrates that MDS patients with anemia may benefit from treatment with an erythropoietin (EPO)-based regimen plus supportive care without added complications as compared with those receiving supportive care alone. The study will appear in the September 17 issue of Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.

The phase III prospective, randomized trial, conducted by research teams of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of EPO with or without myeloid growth factor treatment (G-CSF, or granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) and supportive care (SC) with red blood cell transfusions for patients with early-stage MDS (n=53), in comparison to supportive care alone (n=57).

For the study, the researchers followed MDS treatment and dosing guidelines recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, which include managing anemia with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) such as EPO. EPO is a drug that imitates the action of the hormone erythropoietin, which stimulates the body to produce more red blood cells. Generally, therapy with G-CSF interacts with EPO treatment synergistically to improve erythroid (red blood cell) responses, especially in MDS patients that do not respond to EPO alone.

"EPO is a recommended treatment for MDS, but the combination with G-CSF and supportive care required comparative studies in this patient population," according to lead study author Peter Green
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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