Haemopoietic growth factors in myelodysplastic syndromes: Towards patient-oriented therapy?

M. Clavio, E. Balleari, A. Garrone, F. Ballerini, R. Varaldo, G. L. Michelis, M. Balocco, N. Abdall, N. Colombo, R. Grasso, Marco Gobbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recombinant human erythropoietin (r-EPO) has been used in Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) patients with anaemia since the early nineties. In low-risk MDS patients, other haemopoietic growth factors (HGFs) (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, G-CSF, granulocyte-macrophage-colony stimulating factor, GM-CSF, and interleukin 3, IL-3) have been used to synergise the effects of r-EPO on erythroid growth and to increase neutrophil count in patients with severe neutropenia. In high-risk MDS, or in patients with post-MDS AML, myeloid HGFs have been used to push blasts into the S-phase, thus increasing their sensitivity to antiblastic drugs. Several trials have shown that r-EPO can increase haemoglobin levels and improve QoL in patients with anaemia associated to MDS. The selection of patients with a high probability of response to HGFs is based on the careful consideration of several clinical and biological parameters, i.e., among others, basal EPO and transfusional needs, disease duration, FAB or WHO subtypes, and IPSS score. Treatment of anaemic MDS patients with HGFs should become "patient oriented" and different types, schedules, and duration of treatment have to be designed according to the specific criteria which most likely predict, for each individual patient, the best chance of responding favourably to therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • Anaemia
  • Erythropoietin
  • G-CSF
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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