AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Anemia leading to transfusion is probably the most important problem in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Human recombinant erythropoietin (rHuEpo) and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) have been used to treat patients with anemia of MDS, but fewer than 50% respond. The aim of this work was to evaluate the benefit of rHuEpo +/- G-CSF treatment and to isolate the response predictive variables in a group of selected patients with MDS. DESIGN AND METHODS: A non-randomized multicenter trial was carried out in 32 patients with MDS. The inclusion criteria were age >= 18 years, refractory anemia (RA) or refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts, Hb <= 100 g/L or receiving transfusions and serum erythropoietin <= 250 U/L. These patients were treated with subcutaneous rHuEpo (300 U/kg) three times a week for 8 weeks. In the case of partial response (PR) or no response (NR) subcutaneosly administered G-CSF (1 microg/kg) three times a week was added to the rHuEpo for 8 more weeks. If the patient achieved complete response (CR) or PR in the second phase, he was included in a follow-up phase of 24 weeks in which the dose of growth factors was tapered down. Several variables, including the score published by the Scandinavian-American group, were used as possible predictive variables. RESULTS: An erythroid response was observed in 16 patients (50%); in 12 it was a CR and in 4 it was a PR. During the period of rHuEpo administration, 7 CR and 4 PR (34.4%) were documented. Of the 14 patients in whom G-CSF was added to rHuEpo, 7 (50%) responded (3 CR and 4 PR). No major side-effects associated with growth factors were observed. The multivariate analysis showed that of the different variables evaluated only the Scandinavian-American response score was significant with a relative probability of response of 11.8 (95% confident intervals: 2.5-53) when this score was > +1 (77% of cases responded). In contrast, when this score was <= 1 only 15 % of the cases responded. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: Use of the Scandinavian-American response score is to be recommended in a patient-oriented approach to treating MDS cases with the Epo and G-CSF. Treatment with rHuEpo and G-CSF is safe, its main drawback being its cost. However, a long-term study evaluating the regimen's cost-benefit ratio is warranted.
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Vol. 84 No. 12 (1999): December, 1999 : Clinical Trial
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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