Refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts (RARS) and RARS with thrombocytosis (RARS-T): 2017 update on diagnosis, risk-stratification, and management

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39 Scopus citations


Disease Overview: Ring sideroblasts (RS) are erythroid precursors with abnormal perinuclear mitochondrial iron accumulation. Two myeloid neoplasms defined by the presence of RS, include refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts (RARS), now classified under myelodysplastic syndromes with RS (MDS-RS) and RARS with thrombocytosis (RARS-T); now called myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm with RS and thrombocytosis (MDS/MPN-RS-T). Diagnosis: MDS-RS is a lower risk MDS, with single or multilineage dysplasia (SLD/MLD), <5% bone marrow (BM) blasts and ≥15% BM RS (≥5% in the presence of SF3B1 mutations). MDS/MPN-RS-T, now a formal entity in the MDS/MPN overlap syndromes, has diagnostic features of MDS-RS-SLD, along with a platelet count ≥ 450 × 10(9)/L and large atypical megakaryocytes (similar to BCR-ABL1 negative MPN). Mutations and Karyotype: Mutations in SF3B1 are seen in ≥80% of patients with MDS-RS-SLD and MDS/MPN-RS-T, and strongly correlate with the presence of BM RS; MDS/MPN-RS-T patients also demonstrate JAK2V617F, ASXL1, DNMT3A, SETBP1, and TET2 mutations; with ASXL1/SETBP1 mutations adversely impacting survival. Cytogenetic abnormalities are uncommon in both diseases. Risk stratification: Most patients with MDS-RS-SLD are stratified into lower risk groups by the revised-International Prognostic Scoring System (R-IPSS). Disease outcome in MDS/MPN-RS-T is better than that of MDS-RS-SLD, but worse than that of essential thrombocythemia. Both diseases have a low risk of leukemic. Treatment: Anemia and iron overload are complications seen in both and are managed similar to lower risk MDS and MPN. Aspirin therapy is reasonable in MDS/MPN-RS-T, especially in the presence of JAK2V617F, but the value of platelet-lowering drugs is uncertain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-310
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of hematology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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