There are seven types of MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome). To determine what type of MDS a patient has, a physician will evaluate the patient’s blood cell counts and the percentage of blasts (immature blood cells) in his or her bone marrow, as well as how likely it is that the condition will develop into leukemia.
The different types of MDS include:
- Refractory anemia (RA)
- Refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts (RARS)
- Refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia (RCMD)
- Refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia and ringed sideroblasts (RCMD-RS)
- Refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB)
- Myelodysplastic syndrome, unclassified (MDS-U)
- MDS associated with isolated del (5q)
There are also two different types of leukemia – chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) and juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) – that can be classified as mixed myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative diseases.
After identifying which type of MDS a patient has, a physician will then determine whether it is a primary or secondary myelodysplastic syndrome. Primary, or de novo, myelodysplastic syndromes are far more common than secondary myelodysplastic syndromes, accounting for approximately 80 percent of all cases. Primary MDS originate spontaneously, with no apparent risk factors, while secondary MDS can develop as a result of DNA damage that occurred during prior chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Secondary MDS is typically associated with more complex chromosomal abnormalities and may require more intricate forms of treatment.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our Malignant Hematology Program, which boasts one of the largest MDS programs in the nation, provides comprehensive, multispecialty treatment for all types of MDS. Our team of expert oncologists, hematologists, supportive care providers and other team members design individualized treatment plans for each patient. Because each type of MDS responds differently to treatment, this tailored approach allows us to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.