This information is intended for US healthcare professionals.

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What is MDS?

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a type of cancer that can hide from the immune system, which can result in disease progression if it remains unchecked1-3

MDS, a heterogeneous group of blood malignancies, occurs when the blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells in bone marrow become abnormal4-6

MDS leads to low numbers of one or more types of blood cells in an already vulnerable patient population, where the median age of patients is ~70 years old with multiple comorbidities4,7,8

MDS infographic MDS infographic mobile version

Bone Marrow

Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Red Blood Cells

(Fewer & Poorer
Quality Cells)


  • Anemia
  • Pale Skin
  • Weakness + Tiredness
  • Difficulty Breathing

White Blood Cells

(Fewer & Poorer Quality Cells)


  • Frequent Infections
  • Weakened Immunity


(Fewer & Poorer Quality Cells)


  • Easy Bleeding / Bruising
  • Easy Bleeding / Bruising

Symptoms can be fatal and can contribute to a lower quality of life for patients

National Cancer Institute. Myelodysplastic Syndromes Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. Updated March 4, 2022.

About higher-risk MDS

Approximately 40% of patients diagnosed with MDS have higher-risk disease, which includes very high-, high-, and a subset of intermediate-risk disease based on the Revised International Prognostic Scoring System7,9


of patients are diagnosed with higher-risk disease

About higher-risk MDS

While lower-risk patients are expected to survive >5 years without therapy, higher-risk patients are expected to survive <1 to 3 years without therapy, depending on their IPSS-R score7*

*Based on MDS databases that include outcomes from >7000 patients from multiple international institutions across 11 countries.7

About higher-risk MDS

Progression to AML can occur rapidly in untreated patients with higher-risk MDS7

Refers to the time for 25% of the patients to progress to AML.

There is an urgent need for more effective treatments for higher-risk MDS that modify the underlying disease biology, ideally to improve patient outcomes, such as response rates, delayed transformation to AML, and survival8,10,11

Could the immune system lead to clues about innovation?
Explore MDS and the Immune System
  1. Steensma DP, Komrokji RS, Stone RM, et al. Cancer. 2014;120(11):1670-1676. doi:10.1002/cncr.28631
  2. Chao MP, Takimoto CH, Feng DD, et al. Front Oncol. 2020;9:1380. doi:10.3389/fonc.2019.01380
  3. Pang WW, Pluvinage JV, Price EA, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(8):3011-3016. doi:10.1073/pnas.1222861110
  4. American Cancer Society. Updated August 21, 2018. Accessed April 7, 2022.
  5. Hong M, He G. J Transl Int Med. 2017;5(3):139-143. doi:10.1515/jtim-2017-0002
  6. Visconte V, Tiu RV, Rogers HJ. Blood Res. 2014;49(4):216-227. doi:10.5045/br.2014.49.4.216
  7. Greenberg PL, Tuechler H, Schanz J, et al. Blood. 2012;120(12):2454-2465. doi:10.1182/blood-2012-03-420489
  8. Steensma DP. Blood Cancer J. 2018;8(5):47. doi:10.1038/s41408-018-0085-4
  9. Garcia-Manero G, Chien KS, Montalban-Bravo G. Am J Hematol. 2020;95(11):1399-1420. doi:10.1002/ajh.25950
  10. Platzbecker U. Blood. 2019;133(10):1096-1107. doi:10.1182/blood-2018-10-844696
  11. Scalzulli E, Pepe S, Colafigli G, Breccia M. Blood Rev. 2021;45:100689. doi:10.1016/j.blre.2020.100689