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MDS (myelodysplastic syndromes) staging uses a unique system that evaluates a patient’s blood cell counts, chromosomal abnormalities and the percentage of blasts (immature cells) in his or her bone marrow. The results of this analysis help physicians determine the extent of the cancer. Because myelodysplastic syndromes are not solid tumors, they cannot be staged with the traditional staging systems that are used for many other malignancies. At Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, our experienced oncologists use the MDS staging system known as the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPPS) to determine the most appropriate treatment recommendations for each patient.

Each of the three factors that are considered during MDS staging receives its own score. The percentage of blasts in the bone marrow is scored on a scale of 0-2, the extent of any chromosomal abnormalities is scored on a scale of 0-1 and the blood counts are scored as either 0 or 0.5. For each factor, a lower score represents a better outlook. The three resulting numbers are then combined into one overall score (the IPPS score) and assigned one of the following risk profiles:

  • Low risk
  • Intermediate-1 (Int-1) risk
  • Intermediate-2 (Int-2) risk
  • High risk

A different MDS staging system developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) also takes into account a patient’s chromosomes, but considers the specific type of myelodysplastic syndrome and whether the patient requires blood transfusions rather than the patients’ blood cell counts and blast percentage. This MDS staging system – the WHO Prognostic Scoring System – assigns one of the following five risk profiles:

  • Very low risk
  • Low risk
  • Intermediate risk
  • High risk
  • Very high risk

Patients whose conditions are considered to be high risk typically require a different approach to treatment than patients whose conditions are assigned one of the lower risk categories.

At Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, each patient’s treatment plan is individualized to reflect a number of unique factors, including the patient’s MDS stage, age and personal preferences. We offer a full spectrum of treatments for myelodysplastic syndromes, including chemotherapy, growth factor treatment and transplantation, as well as various supportive care therapies.

For more information about MDS staging or to request an appointment with one of our malignant hematologists, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. Physicians' referrals are never required.

Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)