Income, Education Affect Treatment and Survival in MDS

There may be a correlation between income and education and treatment and survival among patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), according to a study. The results were published in the European Journal of Haematology.

Using the Swedish MDS Register, the researchers identified 2,945 patients diagnosed with MDS between 2009 and 2018. They evaluated relative mortality using Cox regression and treatment differences using Poisson regression. Mortality comparisons were made using a matched group from the general population.

Patients in the lowest income category, compared to the highest, had 50% higher mortality; similarly, those with mandatory school education had 40% higher mortality than those with college or university education. There were also correlations observed between treatment with hypomethylating agents and allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT), and investigation with cytogenetic diagnostics, and income and education. Differences in risk class or comorbidity at the time of diagnosis did not account for these differences in mortality and treatment.

“In this large, population-based study, we demonstrate that Swedish MDS patients with lower income or shorter education have shorter survival. They are further less likely to be investigated with cytogenetic diagnostics, and less likely to receive treatment with hypomethylating agents, or an allogeneic SCT–the only existing curative treatment for MDS today,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion.