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From Diagnosis to Relapse: Mapping the Course of MDS After Allo-HSCT
Posted: Apr 29, 2024
From Diagnosis to Relapse: Mapping the Course of MDS After Allo-HSCT image

Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) is a type of cancer characterized by a rare population of disease-initiating stem cells that sometimes persist and expand during and after therapy, leading to disease progression and relapse. With limited curative treatment options for MDS patients who have already undergone a stem cell transplant, there's an urgent need to improve how relapses are detected.

After allogenic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT), an important concern for patients is relapse: when cancer returns after a potentially curative treatment. However, there’s a growing understanding of how relapse happens and how to identify it.

MRD, or minimal residual disease, is a test that helps identify the cancer cells left in the body after treatment. Although this method is effective in analyzing the remaining cancer cells after treatment, there is a need to expand research on more specialized monitoring methods for an earlier detection of relapse. This can be done by looking for specific mutations, cell proteins, or cell characteristics. 

A research study published in March 2024 looked at a new way to find MDS cells that could come back after a stem cell transplant. This method involves checking for specific changes in genes (mutations) that might be left behind from the original cancer. The study suggests that this approach could be better than current methods for finding these rare cells that remain after treatment and predicting earlier if the cancer might return.

The detection of specific mutations can aid in the early detection of MDS relapse after allo-HSCT


  • There's a growing understanding of how MDS relapse occurs after allo-HSCT
  • Mutations play a crucial role in disease progression to AML and relapse post-transplant
  • This research could lead to earlier detection of relapse through improved monitoring methods
  • Identifying specific mutations can help develop new therapies that target affected cells and prevent relapse afterward
  • Early detection could lead to more personalized treatment options and better patient outcomes.

Developing and improving MDS monitoring methods can potentially prevent relapse, identify early signs of disease, and create new treatment strategies specific to MDS's genetic characteristics.  

The evolving landscape of MRD detection technologies and the need for formal guidelines for clinical application calls for more studies that, hopefully, will shape our ability to intervene early in relapse while avoiding unnecessary treatments.

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The author Jimena Vicencio

about the author
Jimena Vicencio

Jimena is an International Medical Graduate who is part of the HealthTree Patient Experience team. She loves learning new things led by her curiosity, playing with her pets, and exercising in her free time.

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