Myelodysplastic syndrome medical therapy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Nawal Muazam M.D.[2]

Overview

Chemotherapy is recommended among all patients who develop myelodysplastic syndrome.[1]

Medical Therapy

  • Treatment is based on the type of myelodysplastic syndrome and the person's age and general health. The goal of treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome is to:[1]
    • Relieve symptoms
    • Slow or prevent progression of the disease
    • Improve quality of life

Chemotherapy

  • The most common chemotherapy drug used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome is cytarabine. Cytarabine may be combined with other pharmacological agents such as:[1]
  • Other chemotherapeutic agents that may be used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome include:[1]

Supportive Therapy

  • Supportive therapy is given to relieve symptoms and lessen the problems caused by abnormal blood cell counts or treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome.[1]

Transfusions

  • Patients with anemia may receive blood transfusions to correct the red blood cell counts.
  • Frequent blood transfusions can be complicated by a buildup of extra iron in the body, which is treated with drug therapy.
  • Patients with bleeding problems due to low platelet counts may be given platelet transfusions.

Growth Factors

  • Helps improve production of red blood cells
  • Also called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)
  • Helps improve production of white blood cells
  • A long-acting G-CSF

Supportive Therapy

  • Other drugs that may be used to treat symptoms or side effects of therapy include:[1]
  • Deferoxamine
  • treats excess iron in the blood
  • sometimes given with Vitamin C.
  • decreases the need for transfusions in people with a specific chromosome change
  • decreases the need for transfusions in certain types of myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Antibiotics
  • help to prevent or treat infections
  • stop cancer cells from producing DNA or RNA so the cells die

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome. National Cancer Institute (2015). http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/leukemia/leukemia/myelodysplastic-syndromes/?region=on. Accessed on December 15, 2015

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