Abstract 2789

Poster Board II-765


Cancer patients often experience comorbidities that may affect their therapeutic options, prognosis, and outcome (1). Limited studies have evaluated the characteristics and impact of comorbidities in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The aim of this study was to determine the effect of comorbidities on the survival of patients with MDS.


We reviewed the medical records of 500 consecutive MDS patients who presented to MD Anderson Cancer Center from January 2002 to June 2004. The Adult Comorbidity Evaluation-27 (ACE-27), a validated 27-item comorbidity index for cancer patients (2), was used to assess the severity of comorbid conditions. For each patient, we obtained demographic data and specific staging information based on the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS). We also collected information on stem cell transplantation (SCT), mortality and survival. Kaplan-Meier methods and log-rank tests were used to assess survival. Multivariate analysis was performed using the Cox Proportional Hazards Model.


Of the 500 patients included in this study, 327 (65.4%) were male, and 436 (87.9%) were white; median age at presentation was 66.6 years (17.7, 93.5); mean duration of follow-up was 23.5 months (0, 88). A total of 49% of patients had IPSS intermediate-1 or lower risk. The ACE-27 comorbidity scores were as follows: none, 106 patients (21.2%); mild, 213 (42.6%); moderate, 108 (21.6%); and severe, 73 (14.6%). Three hundred and eighty one (76.2%) patients died, and 44 (8.8%) patients underwent SCT. Overall median survival using the Kaplan-Meier method was 17.6 months. Median survival according to ACE-27 scores was: 27.9 months for no comorbidity, 18.9 months for mild comorbidity, 15.2 months for moderate comorbidity, and 9.7 months for severe comorbidity. This trend reached statistical significance (p < 0.0001). The median survival by IPSS ranged from 40.9 months for patients in the low risk group versus 8.1 months for those in the high risk category (p < 0.0001). The hazards ratio obtained from the multivariate Cox Proportional Hazards Model was 1.5 and 2.0 for moderate and severe comorbidity scores when adjusted for age and IPSS (p < 0.0001). A linear trend was also observed between the severity of comorbidity and having received SCT (p = 0.001). Of the 44 patients who had SCT, 21 (47.7%) died. The median survival of patients who did not undergo stem cell transplantation ranged from 22.7 months for patients with no comorbidity to 9.3 months for patients with severe comorbidity (p = 0.0002).


Comorbidities had a significant impact on the survival of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome. Patients with higher ACE-27 comorbidity scores had a shorter survival than those with no comorbidity, independent of their age and the IPSS risk group. Also patients with comorbid conditions received SCT less often than those without comorbidity. A comprehensive assessment of comorbidity is therefore needed to determine the prognosis in patients with MDS.


(1) Extermann M. Measurement and impact of comorbidity in older cancer patients. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2000;35:181-200.

(1) Piccirillo JF, Tierney RM, Costas I, et al. Prognostic importance of comorbidity in a hospital-based cancer registry. JAMA. 2004;291:2441-47.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.