Leveraging Hypomethylating Agents for Better MDS Therapy


Purpose of Review

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a clinically and molecularly heterogeneous disease, which primarily occurs in older adults. Although hypomethylating agents have survival benefit and are the current standard of care, many MDS patients will not garner a response from therapy. For those who do respond, most responses are not durable, and the only hope for a cure is allogeneic stem cell transplant. New therapies to improve outcomes are urgently needed.

Recent Findings

Clinical trials combining standard hypomethylating agents with novel experimental agents are underway in an effort to improve clinical outcomes in MDS patients. Several of these small molecules have demonstrated the ability to augment the response rates of hypomethylating agents alone, including complete remission rates, in both the front line and refractory settings.


Combination approaches utilizing hypomethylating agents and novel-targeted therapies have demonstrated the ability to improve response rates in MDS patients in both the front line and salvage settings, and thus may change the standard of care.

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Correspondence to Terrence J. Bradley.

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Bradley, T.J., Watts, J.M. & Swords, R.T. Leveraging Hypomethylating Agents for Better MDS Therapy. Curr Hematol Malig Rep 13, 507–515 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11899-018-0477-3

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  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Hypomethylating agents
  • Isocitrate dehydrogenase
  • Immunotherapy
  • Pevonedistat