How I treat myelodysplastic syndromes of childhood

Blood. 2018 Mar 29;131(13):1406-1414. doi: 10.1182/blood-2017-09-765214. Epub 2018 Feb 8.


Pediatric myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) are a heterogeneous group of clonal disorders with an annual incidence of 1 to 4 cases per million, accounting for less than 5% of childhood hematologic malignancies. MDSs in children often occur in the context of inherited bone marrow failure syndromes, which represent a peculiarity of myelodysplasia diagnosed in pediatric patients. Moreover, germ line syndromes predisposing individuals to develop MDS or acute myeloid leukemia have recently been identified, such as those caused by mutations in GATA2, ETV6, SRP72, and SAMD9/SAMD9-L Refractory cytopenia of childhood (RCC) is the most frequent pediatric MDS variant, and it has specific histopathologic features. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the treatment of choice for many children with MDSs and is routinely offered to all patients with MDS with excess of blasts, to those with MDS secondary to previously administered chemoradiotherapy, and to those with RCC associated with monosomy 7, complex karyotype, severe neutropenia, or transfusion dependence. Immune-suppressive therapy may be a treatment option for RCC patients with hypocellular bone marrow and the absence of monosomy 7 or a complex karyotype, although the response rate is lower than that observed in severe aplastic anemia, and a relevant proportion of these patients will subsequently need HSCT for either nonresponse or relapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Allografts
  • Chemoradiotherapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / pathology
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / therapy*
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / genetics
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / metabolism
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / pathology
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Proteins


  • Neoplasm Proteins