2018 September 19

The working Group for Prognosis of MDS finds clinical differences between Caucasian and Japanese patients

Francesc Solé of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute has participated in an international team comparing patients who had declared themselves as either white/Caucasian or Japanese.  The study found important differences in patients from the two groups, but shows that the international diagnostic system in use is adequate for people from both groups.

Patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) show a wide range of clinical symptoms.   To ensure high standards of diagnostics and treatment worldwide, medical professionals use the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) and the revised IPSS (IPSS-R).   However, there are many reports of differences between different groups, for example; MDS seems to be more common in non-Hispanic compared to Hispanic people and Asians have a slightly different set of clinical symptoms.  “These differences could have important implications for how we diagnose patients, the treatments recommended and how we believe the disease will progress in each individual,” explains Frances Solé.  “If genetic differences due to the origin of patients means that the disease does not develop the same way, we need to know in order to adjust diagnosis, prognosis and therapy for different individuals according to their background,” he adds.

The international team were able to pool data from over 7,000 patients from Europe the United States and Japan and identify them as Japanese or  white non-Hispanic or Latinos from the US or Europe, according to questionnaires they had filled in themselves.  This kind of study can only be carried out by international teams, who can access such large numbers of patients who are diagnosed and treated in a standard way.  “It is very important for our institute to be part of the International Working Group,” says Solé.

The study did find differences: Japanese MDS patients tend to be younger than their Caucasian counterparts and they differed in the clinical symptoms that they showed, however there was no difference between the two groups in the time before they developed acute myeloid leukemia.  “What we have discovered is that there are some clinical differences in patients depending on their ethnic backgrounds and this may effect therapy regimes and how the disease will develop,” Solé concludes, “however it is very important that we have shown that the international diagnostic scales are safe and accurate for diagnosing both groups of patients.”