Does age affect survival outcomes in MDS?

FAQ Library published on November 9, 2016
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David P. Steensma, MD, FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Senior Physician
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts
Does age affect survival outcomes in MDS?

Welcome to Managing Myelodysplastic Syndromes. My name is David Steensma, and I am an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and also a clinical faculty member at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Adult Leukemia Program. One question I am frequently asked is, “Does age affect survival outcomes in MDS?” The answer seems to be yes. If one looks at the prognostic scoring systems, the median survival for patients who are over 60 is worse than for those patients who are under 60. Patients who are over 60 do not tolerate cytopenias as well. They often have more biologically-complex disease than younger patients – more mutations, more complex karyotypes, etc. – but they also have comorbid conditions, which can make it more difficult for them to participate in clinical trials, to tolerate cytopenias as mentioned, and to undergo stem cell transplant. Thank you for viewing this activity, and for additional educational resources, please view the activities on

Greenberg PL, Tuechler H, Schanz J, et al. Revised international prognostic scoring system for myelodysplastic syndromes. Blood. 2012;120(12):2454-2465.

Last modified: October 25, 2016
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