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Decitabine in the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes

Authors Hussain I Saba

Published 15 November 2007 Volume 2007:3(5) Pages 807—817

Hussain I Saba

Professor of Medicine, Malignant Hematology Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida, USA

Abstract: Patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are challenging to treat, given the advanced median age and comorbidities of the population. For most patients, the standard therapy is supportive care, including broad-spectrum antibiotics, red blood cell/platelet transfusions, and growth factors. Decitabine, a hypomethylating agent that allows for the re-expression of tumor suppressor genes, represents an exciting new treatment option for MDS patients. In phase 2 and 3 studies, decitabine has been associated with durable responses in MDS patients and delayed time to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) transformation or death compared with supportive care. Decitabine has been shown to be well tolerated with a toxicity profile expected for this class of agent. Recent studies also suggest that lower dose schedules of decitabine may result in additional improvements in response. As more is learned about the mechanism of hypomethylating agents, new roles are emerging for decitabine in combination therapy for MDS and in other hematologic malignancies such as AML.

Keywords: decitabine, myelodysplastic syndromes, hypomethylating agent, DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, gene silencing

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