Prevalence and treatment of anemia and secondary iron overload in patients with a myelodysplastic syndrome: Real-world data from a multicenter cohort study

Camiel L. M. de Roij van Zuijdewijn, Peter E. Westerweel, Martin R. Schipperus, Johannes F. M. Pruijt, Arjan A. van de Loosdrecht, Aart Beeker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: anemia is the most common finding in patients with a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Repetitive red blood cell (RBC) transfusions and disease-related low hepcidin levels induce secondary iron overload. Real-world data on the prevalence and treatment strategies of anemia and secondary iron overload in MDS patients, is limited. Methods: three years of data on MDS diagnosis, anemia and ferritin management was collected in 230 MDS patients from seven non-academic hospitals in the Netherlands. Descriptive statistics and linear mixed models were used to analyze the data. Results: transfusion dependent (TD) patients (n = 49) needed 1–3 RBC transfusions per month. Serum hemoglobin remained stable in both TD and transfusion-independent (TI) patients over 3 years. In the TD patients, serum ferritin increased 63 pmol/L/month. Overall, 19 (39%) were diagnosed with secondary hemochromatosis, of which 13 (68%) received chelation therapy with a heterogeneous response. Conclusions: mean hemoglobin remains stable over time in both TD and TI MDS patients. Approximately 40% of TD patients develop secondary hemochromatosis. Treatment and monitoring of secondary hemochromatosis as well as the response on chelation therapy vary substantially.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
JournalTransfusion clinique et biologique
Issue number3
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Anemia
  • Chelation
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hemoglobin
  • Iron overload
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome

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