The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS, formerly known as preleukemia) are a diverse collection of hematological (blood-related) medical conditions that involve ineffective production (or dysplasia) of the myeloid class of blood cells.
Patients with MDS often develop severe anemia and require frequent blood transfusions. In most cases, the disease worsens and the patient develops cytopenias (low blood counts) caused by progressive bone marrow failure. In about one third of patients with MDS, the disease transforms into acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), usually within months to a few years.
The myelodysplastic syndromes are all disorders of the stem cell in the bone marrow. In MDS, hematopoiesis (blood production) is disorderly and ineffective. The number and quality of blood-forming cells decline irreversibly, further impairing blood production.
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