Guidelines for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) in South Africa

V J Louw, F Bassa, S W Chan, L Dreosti, M du Toit, M Ferreira, K Gartrell, K Gunther, V Jogessar, N Littleton, J Mahlangu, A McDonald, M Patel, R Pool, P Ruff, A Schmidt, G Sissolak, A Swart, E Verburgh, M J Webb


Introduction. Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) encompass a heterogeneous group of clonal haematopoietic disorders characterised by chronic and progressive cytopenias resulting from ineffective haematopoiesis. Treatment is complicated by differences in disease mechanisms in different subgroups, variable clinical phenotypes and risk of progression to acute myeloid leukaemia.
Rationale. Changes in disease classification, prognostic scoring systems, the availability of novel treatment options and the absence of South African guidelines for the diagnosis and management of these complex disorders underpinned the need for the development of these recommendations.
Methods. These recommendations are based on the opinion of a number of experts in the field from the laboratory as well as clinical settings and came from both the private and institutional academic environments. The most recent literature as well as available guidelines from other countries were discussed and debated at a number of different meetings held over a 2-year period.
Results. A comprehensive set of recommendations was developed focusing on risk stratification, supportive management and specific treatment. Novel agents and their indications are discussed and recommendations are made based on best available evidence and taking into account the availability of treatments in South Africa.
Conclusion. Correct diagnosis, risk stratification and appropriate therapeutic choices are the cornerstones of success in the management of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

Authors' affiliations

V J Louw, University of the Free State

F Bassa, Tygerberg Hospital & University of Stellenbosch

S W Chan, University of the Witwatersrand

L Dreosti, University of Pretoria

M du Toit, Cape Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Centre

M Ferreira, Ampath Pathologists

K Gartrell, Louis Leipoldt Medi-Clinic

K Gunther, Mayo Centre/Life Flora Clinic

V Jogessar, University of KwaZulu-Natal & NHLS

N Littleton, Provincial Hospital Port Elizabeth

J Mahlangu, University of the Witwatersrand & NHLS

A McDonald, University of Cape Town

M Patel, University of the Witwatersrand

R Pool, University of Pretoria

P Ruff, University of the Witwatersrand

A Schmidt, Panorama Medical Centre

G Sissolak, Tygerberg Hospital & University of Stellenbosch

A Swart, University of Pretoria & NHLS

E Verburgh, St. James's Hospital, Dublin

M J Webb, University of the Free State

Full Text



Guidelines; Myelodysplastic syndromes

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(12):900.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-09-07
Date published: 2011-11-28

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