Background: Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a heterogeneous group of clonal stem cell disorders characterized by dysplastic and ineffective hematopoiesis and peripheral cytopenias. Elevated serum ferritin (SF) is often observed in nontransfused, lower risk MDS. It has been reported that ineffective erythropoiesis enhances iron absorption in MDS through downregulation of hepcidin and its prohormones such that SF rises.
Aim: To determine the effect of 6-shogaol, a dehydration derivative of ginger, known to have hepatoprotective and chemotherapeutic activity, on 6 early-stage, transfusion-independent patients with MDS, 3 of whom had raised levels of SF.
Method: Six patients with MDS with low or intermediate-1 subtypes, as defined by the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS), were recruited into the study and were administered 1 gel capsule daily containing 20 mg ginger extract standardized for 20% 6-shogaol. Blood and urine samples were collected and various markers monitored at regular intervals.
Results: 6-shogaol caused a decrease in SF levels in 3 of 6 patients with early MDS (50%) whose SF levels were elevated at the start of the study. Our findings suggest upregulation of hepcidin and its prohormones, possibly through an improvement in liver function.
Discussion: In light of the encouraging results in this small, investigative study, we are planning a larger study to confirm the beneficial effect of 6-shogaol in patients with raised ferritin levels due to ineffective erythropoiesis.
Keywords: 6-shogaol; Myelodysplasia; ferritin; ginger; liver-function.