Prediction of Response to Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents in Low-Risk Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand.

2 Research Unit in Translational Hematology, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.


Introduction: Erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs) represents the principal treatments for anemia in patients with lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Pre-treatment erythropoietin (EPO) level and previous blood transfusion requirement are the two major predictors for response to ESAs. However, most evidence was derived from Western countries whereas there have been limited data in patients with Asian background. Methods: We retrospectively collected data on patients with low-risk MDS who received ESAs. Erythroid response was evaluated according to IWG 2006 criteria. MDS subtypes, r-IPSS, baseline hemoglobin (Hb), ESAs dosage and erythropoietin level were reviewed from medical records. Gene mutations were analyzed in patients’ blood or bone marrow at diagnosis by 40-gene myeloid panel targeted sequencing. Clinical and laboratory parameters were compared between erythroid responder and non-responder groups. Results: A total of 47 patients were recruited in the study. The median age at diagnosis of the patients in this cohort was 77 years (IQR, 70-83) and 44.7% were male. The median revised international prognostic scoring system (R-IPSS) score of patients was 2.5. Response rate to ESAs was 46.8% (22/47). Median EPO level in responders was significantly lower than non-responders (27.7 vs. 59.1 U/L, p=0.02). Median ESAs dosage in responder group was 30,000 units per week. Cytogenetic abnormalities were detected in 27.3% and 24% of the responder and non-responder groups, respectively. Of 22 patients with available 40 gene mutation targeted sequencing, ASXL1, IDH2 and TET2 represented the 3 most common mutations and were found in 22%, 22% and 17%, respectively. There were no differences in cytogenetic abnormalities and gene mutations between groups. Patients who responded to ESAs showed a higher 5-year overall survival (OS) compared to non-responders (5-year OS 75% vs. 60.9%; p=0.008). Conclusion:We conclude that a low serum EPO level is a predictive factor for responsiveness to ESAs in Asian patients with low-risk MDS. 


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