Iron-chelating therapy with deferasirox in transfusion-dependent, higher risk myelodysplastic syndromes: a retrospective, multicentre study

Pellegrino Musto, Luca Maurillo, Vittorio Simeon, Antonella Poloni, Carlo Finelli, Enrico Balleari, Alessandra Ricco, Flavia Rivellini, Agostino Cortelezzi, Giuseppe Tarantini, Oreste Villani, Giovanna Mansueto, Maria Rita Milella, Daniele Scapicchio, Gioacchino Marziano, Massimo Breccia, Pasquale Niscola, Alessandro Sanna, Cristina Clissa, Maria Teresa VosoSusanna Fenu, Adriano Venditti, Valeria Santini, Emanuele Angelucci, Alessandro Levis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Iron chelation is controversial in higher risk myelodysplastic syndromes (HR-MDS), outside the allogeneic transplant setting. We conducted a retrospective, multicentre study in 51 patients with transfusion-dependent, intermediate-to-very high risk MDS, according to the revised international prognostic scoring system, treated with the oral iron chelating agent deferasirox (DFX). Thirty-six patients (71%) received azacitidine concomitantly. DFX was given at a median dose of 1000 mg/day (range 375–2500 mg) for a median of 11 months (range 0·4–75). Eight patients (16%) showed grade 2–3 toxicities (renal or gastrointestinal), 4 of whom (8%) required drug interruption. Median ferritin levels decreased from 1709 μg/l at baseline to 1100 μg/l after 12 months of treatment (P = 0·02). Seventeen patients showed abnormal transaminase levels at baseline, which improved or normalized under DFX treatment in eight cases. One patient showed a remarkable haematological improvement. At a median follow up of 35·3 months, median overall survival was 37·5 months. The results of this first survey of DFX in HR-MDS are comparable, in terms of safety and efficacy, with those observed in lower-risk MDS. Though larger, prospective studies are required to demonstrate real clinical benefits, our data suggest that DFX is feasible and might be considered in a selected cohort of HR-MDS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-750
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • deferasirox
  • International Prognostic Scoring System
  • iron chelation
  • myelodyslastic syndromes
  • revised-International Prognostic Scoring System

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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