Management of Patients with Lower-Risk Myelodysplastic Neoplasms (MDS)

Curr Oncol. 2023 Jun 27;30(7):6177-6196. doi: 10.3390/curroncol30070459.


Myelodysplastic neoplasms (MDS) are a heterogenous group of clonal hematologic disorders characterized by morphologic dysplasia, ineffective hematopoiesis, and cytopenia. In the past year, the classification of MDS has been updated in the 5th edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Haematolymphoid Tumours and the International Consensus Classification (ICC) of Myeloid Neoplasms and Acute Leukemia with incorporation of morphologic, clinical, and genomic data. Furthermore, the more comprehensive International Prognostic Scoring System-Molecular (IPSS-M) allows for improved risk stratification and prognostication. These three developments allow for more tailored therapeutic decision-making in view of the expanding treatment options in MDS. For patients with lower risk MDS, treatment is aimed at improving cytopenias, usually anemia. The recent approval of luspatercept and decitabine/cedazuridine have added on to the current armamentarium of erythropoietic stimulating agents and lenalidomide (for MDS with isolated deletion 5q). Several newer agents are being evaluated in phase 3 clinical trials for this group of patients, such as imetelstat and oral azacitidine. This review provides a summary of the classification systems, the prognostic scores and clinical management of patients with lower risk MDS.

Keywords: antithymocyte globulin; hypomethylating agent; imetelstat; lenalidomide; luspatercept; myelodysplastic neoplasm; prognostic scoring system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Lenalidomide / therapeutic use
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes* / therapy
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Risk


  • Lenalidomide
  • Immunologic Factors

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.