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Keywords:

  • darbepoetin;
  • erythropoietin;
  • myelodysplastic syndromes;
  • anaemia;
  • transfusion

Summary

Thirty-seven anaemic subjects with low-to-intermediate risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) received the highly glycosylated, long-acting erythropoiesis-stimulating molecule darbepoetin-alpha (DPO) at the single, weekly dose of 150 μg s.c. for at least 12 weeks. Fifteen patients (40·5%) achieved an erythroid response (13 major and two minor improvements, respectively, according to International Working Group criteria). Such results are currently maintained after 7–22 months in 13 of the responders, one of whom required iron substitutive therapy during the treatment. One patient relapsed after 4 months. Another responder died after 5 months because of causes unrelated to the treatment. No relevant side-effects were recorded. At multivariate analysis, significant predictive factors of response were baseline serum levels of endogenous erythropoietin <100 IU/l, absent or limited transfusional needs, no excess of blasts and hypoplastic bone marrow. This study suggests that DPO, at the dose and schedule used, can be safely given in low-intermediate risk MDS and may be effective in a significant proportion of these patients.