How are myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) classified?

Updated: Oct 18, 2019
  • Author: Matthew C Foster, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
  • Print


The 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) classification of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), [1] as well as the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS), are provided below. [2]  The 2016 classification replaced terms such as refractory anemia and refractory cytopenia with MDS and added a provisional entity, refractory cytopenia of childhood.

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of clonal myeloid neoplasms characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis that present clinically as cytopenia(s), dysplasia in one or more hematopoietic cell lines in the bone marrow, and risk of transformation to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). [3]

See Myelodysplastic Syndromes: Classification, Features, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options, a Critical Images slideshow, to help identify, classify, work up, and treat these disorders.

Evidence of clonality may support the diagnosis of MDS and may manifest as an increase in bone marrow myeloblasts or recurrent cytogenetic abnormalities, although these findings are not necessary to fulfill the diagnostic criteria.

Myelodysplastic syndromes appear to represent several molecularly unique entities whose variation makes constructing a concise and practical framework difficult.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!