The relationship between transfusion dependency and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) may differ based on disease risk at diagnosis, according to research presented at the 59th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 9-12, 2017; Atlanta, GA).
Prior research has linked transfusion dependency with worsened HRQOL in this patient population; however, few studies have stratified this association based on disease-risk categories.
Jo Caers, MD, University of Liege (Belgium), and colleagues evaluated 669 patients (median age, 77 years; 62% men) with newly diagnosed MDS to determine whether transfusion dependency differently impacted patients based on their disease group. International Prognostic Scoring System disease-risk categories were used.
Researchers defined transfusion dependency as the need for at least one blood transfusion every 8 weeks across a 4-month period.
The majority of the cohort (54%; n = 364) were classified as having intermediate-2 or high-risk disease (HRD); the remaining patients (46%; n = 305) had intermediate-1 or low-risk disease (LRD). Fourteen percent (n = 44) of patients with LRD and 21% (n = 78) of patients with HRD were transfusion dependent.
In both disease-risk categories, transfusion-dependent patients reported worsened HRQOL than transfusion-independent patients. However, among patients with HRD, researchers observed statistically significant differences with regard to fatigue (mean difference, 11.1; P = .001) and pain (mean difference, 8.4; P = .02) that were not mirrored by patients with LRD.
Worsened fatigue trends were confirmed by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Fatigue questionnaire.
“These data might help physicians to provide more targeted interventions,” researchers concluded.—Cameron Kelsall