MDS Prevalence May Be Higher Than Previously Thought
Published: Jul 8, 2009 12:17 pm
Results from a study by the Odette Cancer Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada showed that the prevalence of myelodysplastic syndromes in anemic individuals over the age of 65 may be higher than previously thought. This prevalence may be the cause of the anemia, a reduction in red blood cell counts. Researchers completed this retrospective study on bone marrow data, aiming to determine if any of the patients also had myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) at the time of the study.
The patients who participated in this study averaged 70 years old with some decrease in normal blood cell counts. Any data from patients with pre-diagnoses were excluded, resulting in a patient group of 322 individuals, the majority of whom were anemic. The data were analyzed for blood cell counts, size, maturity and other risk factors. Risk factors include low vitamin B12, low vitamin B9, low iron, insufficient production of the thyroid hormone, kidney failure, presence of cancerous cells or inflammatory/infectious conditions.
After evaluating the data, collected between 2002 and 2005 at a tertiary care center, 32.5 percent had a confirmed diagnosis or suspected MDS at the time of the study. Patient follow-up showed that 47 percent of suspected MDS patients had confirmed MDS or acute myeloid lymphoma within 1.5 years.
In addition to identifying the number of previously undiagnosed MDS cases, the study aimed to determine any predicting characteristics of MDS. Results showed that patients over the age of 65 were more likely to have confirmed or suspected MDS. Results also showed that patients with one of the following—high average red blood cell volume, an elevated number of immature red blood cells and high variance of red cell width—were more likely to have MDS. The additional risk factors were not significantly related to MDS diagnosis.
Other past studies have suggested potential MDS cases in elderly groups and have also noted the prevalence of anemia. The Odette Center researchers speculate that if the data of these past studies were reviewed further, researchers would find more patients with diagnosed or suspected MDS.
Researchers believe that better recognition of MDS will help patients avoid the potential complications associated with anemia. These complications include increased mortality, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, decreased physical function, increased frailty, higher hospitalization rates and complications and higher risk for falls and fractures.
For more information, please see the article (abstract) in the journal Leukemia Research.
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