Patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) who choose to undergo hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) demonstrate better survival outcomes compared to similar patients who do not undergo HCT, according to a study published in Annals of Hematology.1

Angela Smith, MD, MS, of the University of Minnesota and fellow researchers observed patients with MDS who were enrolled in a population-based study between April 2010 and January 2013 who underwent HCT within the first year.  Subjects were matched for age and MDS risk and compared with patient controls.

“Treatment planning for patients with MDS is a complex process, and we sought to better characterize HCT outcomes and the factors that play into decision-making regarding referral of adults with MDS for definitive therapy with HCT,” the authors wrote.

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The researchers found that survival was significantly better in patients treated with HCT.

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Patients in the non-HCT group were more likely to have comorbidities, while those who had undergone HCT were more likely to have a college degree and an income of more than $80,000. These three variables were found to be independently associated with HCT, but none of them impacted survival.

“More work needs to be done to determine why education and income appear to impact the decision to pursue HCT, but these factors may impact referral to an academic center where aggressive therapy like HCT is more likely to be considered,” the authors concluded.


  1. Smith AR, Warlick ED, Roesler MA, et al. Factors associated with hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) among patients in a population-based study of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in Minnesota. [published online ahead of print June 11, 2015]. Annals of Hematology. doi: 10.1007/s00277-015-2422-z.