MDS Impacting Patient Quality of Life


Key opinion leaders discuss the impact MDS can have on the quality of life for patients compared with other hematologic disease states.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: I want to turn to Dr Zeidan. Can you discuss the patient journey for someone with MDS [myelodysplastic syndrome]? What are some of the manifestations of myelodysplastic syndromes? What’s the impact on that patient’s quality of life given a lot of the background we heard about the disease state?

Amer Zeidan, MBBS, MHS: Myelodysplastic syndrome has the newest WHO [World Health Organization] classification. Now they’re being called myelodysplastic neoplasms because, emphasizing what Dr Fazal said, we recognize that these are forms of cancer. However, it’s important to realize that compared with many other cancers, the ways that patients present with MDS are very variable. Some patients come in after a physician did a physical examination and ordered some blood work or a preop evaluation, and they’re completely asymptomatic. Their blood counts are found to be slightly low. Other patients present similar to patients with acute myeloid leukemia, with very low blood cell counts and significant symptoms. The impact on their life also can be very substantial.

Some patients don’t have symptoms. They can be monitored for years, basically, with only blood cell counts every few months. Other patients have significant impairment of their quality of life. They need regular blood transfusions and generally are recommended to be treated very quickly, similar to how you would treat a patient with acute myeloid leukemia. It’s important to differentiate the degree of severity of MDS because there’s an impact on life and quality of life, and the management is significantly different, as we’ll talking about in later parts of this program.

Ryan Haumschild, PharmD, MS, MBA: We talk about patient quality of life. That’s such a huge thing. As the treating provider, we have to consider it while selecting therapies. Dr Fazal, do you have anything else to add about the patient journey for you and for the patients you see? How do you end up getting referred those patients? What’s the impact on them throughout the course of treatment? I was curious about your thoughts on that question as well.

Salman Fazal, MD: I agree. Patients with myelodysplastic syndromes don’t have any specific symptoms other than the symptoms that they experience related to low blood cell counts. In addition to symptoms related to low blood cell counts, they complain of having issues with sleep and anxiety with the diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome. All these symptoms affect their quality of life in a major way.

Transcript edited for clarity.

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