Common troublesome symptoms and their impact on quality of life in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS): results of a large internet-based survey

Leuk Res. 2008 May;32(5):691-8. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2007.10.015. Epub 2007 Dec 4.


Despite the clinical importance of health-related quality of life (QOL) in patients suffering from myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), few data exist on the prevalence of key MDS-associated symptoms, or the correlation of those symptoms with specific disease features such as hemoglobin level. In order to better understand the burden of disease-associated symptoms in patients with MDS, we designed a 120-question Internet-based survey of QOL appropriate for patients with MDS, incorporating validated QOL measurement instruments and questions about specific therapies. The 359 survey respondents were typical of MDS patients in terms of demographics, blood counts, and disease subtype. Patients reported high levels of excessive fatigue and poor scores on QOL assessments such as the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anemia (FACT-An) and the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI). Patients' debilitating fatigue correlated poorly with hemoglobin level, and fatigue was associated with significant impairment of both health-related QOL and ability to work or participate in desired activities. Within the limitations of self-reported data, these results provide a benchmark for future interventions to improve QOL in patients with MDS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Darbepoetin alfa
  • Epoetin Alfa
  • Erythropoietin / adverse effects
  • Erythropoietin / analogs & derivatives
  • Exanthema / chemically induced
  • Exanthema / psychology
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / blood
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / drug therapy
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Hemoglobins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Darbepoetin alfa
  • Epoetin Alfa