A group of blood disorders which is characterized by the failure of stem cells to mature into healthy cells is called myelodysplastic syndrome. The immature blood cells accumulate in the bone marrow and are called blasts. It is also known as bone marrow failure or myelodysplasia. It is a precancerous form and may develop into acute myeloid leukemia. It usually affects men and the elderly.
Types of Myelodysplastic Syndrome
The common types of the myelodysplastic syndrome are:
- Myelodysplastic syndrome with single lineage dysplasia (MDS-SLD): It affects only one type of blood cell (RBC, WBC, or platelets)
- Myelodysplastic syndrome with ring sideroblast (MSD-RS): It occurs in early RBCs that have a ring of iron in them.
- Myelodysplastic syndrome with isolated del (5q) chromosome change: In this type, the cells in the bone marrow have an isolated del (5q) chromosome change.
- Myelodysplastic syndrome with an excess blast: The immature cells, called blasts, are found in the bone marrow.
Symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndrome
The general symptoms of the myelodysplastic syndrome are:
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue or feeling tired
- Easy and unusual bruising
- Frequent infections
- Petechiae (spots under the skin due to bleeding)
If you experience one or more of the above symptoms and are at increased risk for developing myelodysplastic syndrome, consult with the best myelodysplastic syndrome doctor in Nashik.
Causes of Myelodysplastic Syndrome
Several factors increase the risks of a myelodysplastic syndrome, such as:
- Advanced age (above 60 years)
- Exposure to certain chemicals like benzene or pesticides
- High-dose radiation exposure like nuclear reactor accident
- Experience of treatment with chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer in other areas.
- Inherited genes change like severe congenital neutropenia
- A family history of myelodysplastic syndrome
Diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndrome
The common tests performed for diagnosis of the myelodysplastic syndrome are:
- Complete blood counts (CBC): The low level of a single type of blood cell or all blood cells (RBC, WBC, and platelets) may indicate myelodysplastic syndrome.
- Biopsy: A sample is obtained from the bone marrow of the pelvic or hip area, which is then analyzed in a laboratory for myelodysplastic syndrome.
- Flow chemistry and immunocytochemistry: The technician treats the blood cells with a specific protein. The complex is then examined under a microscope or with a machine to detect the myelodysplastic syndrome and its type.
- Chromosome tests: The sample is analyzed for abnormal chromosomes that confirm myelodysplastic syndrome. It also helps to decide the course of the treatment plan.
- Fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH): A FISH test uses fluorescent dyes that attach to specific proteins of the abnormal bone marrow cells and helps to detect myelodysplastic syndrome.
Treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome
At HCG Manavata Cancer Center, our specialists help patients receive advanced myelodysplastic syndrome treatment in Nashik. The common methods used for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome are:
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used in cases where the myelodysplastic syndrome is transforming into leukemia or when there is a need to control the increasing number of white blood cells. The main goal of chemotherapy in myelodysplastic syndrome is to reduce the blast cell numbers in the bone marrow to allow the stem cells to make normal blood cells. It can be administered in 3 different situations:
- Low-dose oral chemotherapy in the form of pills for controlling increased white blood cells count
- Low-intensity chemotherapy to control myelodysplastic syndrome from transforming into leukemia
- Standard dose chemotherapy for a myelodysplastic syndrome that has already transformed into acute myeloid leukemia
Stem cell transplant: The procedure is also known as a bone marrow transplant. It does have the risk of serious complications and is usually reserved for young people with good health. In this procedure, defective blood cells from bone marrow are cleared out using intensive chemotherapy or strong irradiation. Then, the abnormal stem cells are replaced with healthy stem cells.
Supportive care: The goal of supportive therapy is to help to alleviate the symptoms or complications of myelodysplastic syndrome. It helps improve quality of life and can be used with other treatment methods. It includes using antibiotics for infections, blood transfusion, and platelets when their count is low.
Epigenetic therapy: This therapy involves the administration of specific drugs intravenously or subcutaneously. These drugs turn on tumor suppressor genes that are silenced in myelodysplastic syndrome.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is myelodysplastic syndrome hereditary?
Yes, in rare cases myelodysplastic syndrome can be hereditary.
Is it possible to cure myelodysplastic syndrome?
The only potential way to cure myelodysplastic syndrome is through a stem cell transplant from a suitable donor. However, certain medications can manage the condition.
How can I reduce the progression of myelodysplastic syndrome?
Exercising daily, maintaining a healthy weight, taking a balanced diet, and getting adequate sleep may help reduce the progression of the syndrome. In addition, take the prescribed medications regularly and avoid heavy drinking.
What can I expect after the myelodysplastic syndrome treatment?
You will have a regular follow-up with the doctor. The doctor will perform tests routinely to monitor myelodysplastic syndrome and can also advise you to take certain vaccinations.
What is the survival rate of myelodysplastic syndrome?
The survival rate of myelodysplastic syndrome depends on the type and risk. The survival for low-risk myelodysplastic syndrome is about five years or more. For intermediate, it is about three years. The median survival is 1.6 years and 0.8 years for high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and very high-risk, respectively.