Guideline for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) in South Africa

Louw, V. J. ; Bassa, F. ; Chan, S. W. ; Dreosti, L. ; Du Toit, M. ; Ferreira, M. ; Gartrell, K. ; Gunther, K. ; Jogessar, V. ; Littleton, N. ; Mahlangu, J. ; McDonald, A. ; Patel, M. ; Pool, R. ; Ruff, P. ; Schmidt, A. ; Sissolak, G. ; Swart, A. ; Verburgh, E. ; Webb, M. J. (2011-12)

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Introduction. Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) encompass a heterogeneous group of clonal haematopoietic disorders characterised by chronic and progressive cytopenias resulting from ineffective haematopoiesis. Treatment is complicated by differences in disease mechanisms in different subgroups, variable clinical phenotypes and risk of progression to acute myeloid leukaemia. Rationale. Changes in disease classification, prognostic scoring systems, the availability of novel treatment options and the absence of South African guidelines for the diagnosis and management of these complex disorders underpinned the need for the development of these recommendations. Methods. These recommendations are based on the opinion of a number of experts in the field from the laboratory as well as clinical settings and came from both the private and institutional academic environments. The most recent literature as well as available guidelines from other countries were discussed and debated at a number of different meetings held over a 2-year period. Results. A comprehensive set of recommendations was developed focusing on risk stratification, supportive management and specific treatment. Novel agents and their indications are discussed and recommendations are made based on best available evidence and taking into account the availability of treatments in South Africa. Conclusion. Correct diagnosis, risk stratification and appropriate therapeutic choices are the cornerstones of success in the management of patients with MDS.

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