Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents significantly delay the onset of a regular transfusion need in nontransfused patients with lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome

H. K.G. Garelius*, W. T. Johnston, A. G. Smith, S. Park, L. de Swart, P. Fenaux, A. Symeonidis, G. Sanz, J. Čermák, R. Stauder, L. Malcovati, M. Mittelman, A. A. van de Loosdrecht, C. J. van Marrewijk, D. Bowen, S. Crouch, T. J.M. de Witte, E. Hellström-Lindberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The EUMDS registry is an unique prospective, longitudinal observational registry enrolling newly diagnosed patients with lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) from 17 European countries from both university hospitals and smaller regional hospitals. Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the usage and clinical impact of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) in 1696 patients enrolled between 2008 and 2014. Methods: The effects of ESAs on outcomes were assessed using proportional hazards models weighting observations by propensity to receive ESA treatment within a subset of anaemic patients with or without a regular transfusion need. Results: ESA treatment (median duration of 27.5 months, range 0–77 months) was administered to 773 patients (45.6%). Outcomes were assessed in 897 patients (484 ESA treated and 413 untreated). ESA treatment was associated with a nonsignificant survival benefit (HR 0.82, 95% CI: 0.65–1.04, P = 0.09); this benefit was larger amongst patients without prior transfusions (P = 0.07). Amongst 539 patients for whom response to ESA treatment could be defined, median time to first post-ESA treatment transfusion was 6.1 months (IQR: 4.3–15.9 months) in those transfused before ESA treatment compared to 23.3 months (IQR: 7.0–47.8 months) in patients without prior transfusions (HR 2.4, 95% CI: 1.7–3.3, P < 0.0001). Responding patients had a better prognosis in terms of a lower risk of death (HR 0.65, 95% CI: 0.45–0.893, P = 0.018), whereas there was no significant effect on the risk of progression to acute myeloid leukaemia (HR 0.71, 95% CI: 0.39–1.29, P = 0.27). Conclusion: Appropriate use of ESAs can significantly delay the onset of a regular transfusion need in patients with lower-risk MDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-299
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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