Response to erythropoietic-stimulating agents in patients with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia

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The efficacy of erythropoietic-stimulating agents (ESA) in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is unknown. Our objective was to analyze erythroid response (ER) and overall survival (OS) in a series of 94 patients with CMML treated with ESA.


We analyzed a series of 94 patients with CMML treated with ESA included in the Spanish and Düsseldorf-MDS registries.


ER was observed in 64% of patients and red blood cell (RBC) transfusion independence in 31%. The median duration of ER was 7 months (range, 0–88). CPSS and EPO level were significantly associated with ER in multivariate analysis (P = 0.003). Considering only patients with CPSS low- or intermediate-1-risk group, the absence of RBC transfusion dependence and erythropoietin (EPO) level predicted ER (P = 0.003 and P = 0.008, respectively). In multivariate analysis, only the EPO level retained its prognostic value (P = 0.029). Achievement of ER correlated with a better survival since ER evaluation (P = 0.016).


The CPSS and EPO levels are adequate tools to select CMML patients with symptomatic anemia who may benefit from treatment with ESA. A significant ER to ESA is expected in anemic patients with low/intermediate-1 CMML risk by the CPSS and a low endogenous serum EPO level.

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