Fast Five Quiz: Anemia in Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Emmanuel C. Besa, MD

Disclosures

May 12, 2021

The treatment algorithm for symptomatic anemia in lower-risk MDS developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, European Society for Medical Oncology, and European LeukemiaNet includes decision points based on the presence or absence of deletion 5q and the serum erythropoietin level.

Although a serum erythropoietin level of 500 mU/mL is used as a cutoff value for treatment decisions in the algorithm from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, European Society for Medical Oncology, and European LeukemiaNet, hemoglobin and ferritin levels are not used at this decision point. Hemoglobin values vary widely between patients with symptomatic anemia; thus, there is no cutoff value that should be used to initiate pharmacologic therapy or transfusion. Although reduced erythropoiesis in patients with MDS can lead to iron toxicity, repeated transfusions are a more common cause for this complication. Thus, an assessment of ferritin level would be a less pressing concern for a patient with newly diagnosed symptomatic anemia who had not been previously treated.

Learn more about the prognostic value of serum erythropoietin level in patients with lower-risk MDS.

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