Disease Information

Leukemias / Lymphomas: Myelodysplasia (MDS)

Alternate Names: MDS


Myelodysplasia (MDS) refers to a group of disorders in which the bone marrow does not function normally and produces insufficient number of normal blood cells.

MDS affects the production of any, and occasionally all, types of blood cells including red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells (cytopenias).

About 50 percent of pediatric myelodysplasia can be classified in five types of MDS: refractory anemia, refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts, refractory anemia with excess blasts, refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation, and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

The remaining 50 percent typically present with isolated or combined cytopenias such as anemia, leucopenia and/or thrombocytopenia (low platelet count). Although chronic, MDS progresses to become acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in about 30 percent of patients.


Influencing Factors

Survival Rates

Up to 60 percent of patients that receive bone marrow transfusions achieve long-term survival.

Treatment Strategies

Current Research

Most St. Jude myelodysplasia patients are enrolled on our front-line AML or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation protocols.


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