MDS Staging

Dr. Thompson describes the stages of an MDS diagnosis and the effective treatment options for each phase.

Staging is the process used to determine how far your disease has advanced. This information helps your physicians identify the best treatments for you. Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) cases are often staged using the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS). Under this system, three factors are used in scoring:

  • The number of blasts in the bone marrow
  • The number of low-blood-cell types (cytopenias) 
  • The presence and type of abnormalities in your chromosomes

About half of MDS patients have an abnormal chromosome, but so far, no links have been found between a particular abnormal chromosome and a particular MDS subtype (with the exception of a deletion in chromosome 5 (5q-), which is associated with refractory anemia).

The IPSS system scores patients according to their risk factors, resulting in classifications that include low, intermediate-1, intermediate-2, or high risk. The score predicts a patient’s survival from the time of diagnosis.