Myelodysplastic syndrome is a group of disorders when the blood cells produced in the bone marrow do not mature into healthy cells. This leaves you with fewer healthy blood cells in your body. The blood cells that have matured may not function properly.
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a form of cancer. In about a third of people, MDS may develop into acute myeloid leukemia.
Myeloid malignancy; Myelodysplastic syndrome; MDS; Preleukemia; Smoldering leukemia; Refractory anemia; Refractory cytopenia
Stem cells in bone marrow form different types of blood cells. With MDS, the DNA in stem cells becomes damaged. Because the DNA is damaged, the stem cells can’t produce healthy blood cells.
The exact cause of MDS is not known. For most cases, there is no known cause.
Risk factors for MDS include:
Prior cancer treatment increases the risk for MDS. This is called secondary or treatment-related MDS.
MDS usually occurs in adults age of 60 years and older. It is more common in men.
Early stage MDS often has no symptoms. MDS is often discovered during other blood tests.
People with very low blood counts often experience symptoms. Symptoms depend on the type of blood cell affected, and they include:
Your treatment will depend on several factors:
The goal of MDS treatment is to prevent problems due to a shortage of blood cells, infections and bleeding. It may consist of:
Your provider may try one or more treatments to see what your MDS responds to.
Tapan Kadia is an Oncologist and a Hematologist Oncology doctor in Houston, Texas. Dr. Kadia has been practicing medicine for over 21 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndrome. He is also highly rated in 32 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Leukemia, and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology and licensed to treat patients in Texas. Dr. Kadia is currently accepting new patients.
Jeffrey Lancet is a Hematologist Oncology specialist and a Hematologist in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Lancet has been practicing medicine for over 30 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndrome. He is also highly rated in 27 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Leukemia, and Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia with Maturation. He is board certified in Hematology/oncology and licensed to treat patients in Florida. Dr. Lancet is currently accepting new patients.
Virginia Klimek is an Oncologist in Middletown, New Jersey. Dr. Klimek has been practicing medicine for over 28 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndrome. She is also highly rated in 23 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia without Maturation, and Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia with Maturation. She is board certified in Medical Oncology and licensed to treat patients in New York. Dr. Klimek is currently accepting new patients.
The outlook will depend on your type of MDS and severity of symptoms. Your overall health also may affect your chances of recovery. Many people have stable MDS that does not progress into cancer for years, if ever.
Some people with MDS may develop acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
MDS complications include:
Contact your provider if you:
Hasserjian RP, Head DR. Myelodysplastic syndromes. In: Jaffe ES, Arber DA, Campo E, Harris NL, Quintanilla-Martinez L, eds. Hematopathology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 45.
National Cancer Institute website. Myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms treatment (PDQ) - health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/hp/mds-mpd-treatment-pdq. Updated February 1, 2019. Accessed December 17, 2019.
Steensma DP, Stone RM. Myelodysplastic syndromes. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 172.