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Gaps in BMT consideration for MDS and AML

BMT referral trends for patients with MDS or AML are potential barriers to care

For patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML), blood or marrow transplant (BMT) is a potential cure. Advances in BMT have opened the door to treatment—and improved outcomes—for more patients who are older and those with diverse ancestry.

Despite advances, reservations about referral to a BMT treatment center remain for some in the medical community. The Connect® Myeloid Disease Registry wanted to understand how many patients who would be eligible for transplant based on today’s criteria are genuinely considered for BMT referral and why some patients might be overlooked.

What the research found

The study from December 2013 to March 2020 included 778 participants diagnosed with high-risk MDS and AML.

The researchers found that where a patient received care made a difference in BMT consideration. For example, about 28% of patients who were seen at community/government treatment centers were viewed as potential candidates for BMT versus nearly 44% at academic treatment centers.

While the primary reason for not pursuing transplant varied by location, whether a patient had private insurance played a significant role in BMT considerations. Age also remained a considerable factor in BMT candidacy, especially at community/government sites. That is despite emerging evidence suggesting age alone should not be the main reason a patient is not considered for BMT.

The results indicate that a significant number of patients who might benefit from BMT are not being assessed or considered for it.

What this means for patients

The study underscores the hurdles that patients might face in accessing BMT based on their age and where they are being treated. This calls for more work to be done to make sure that where a patient lives or where they receive their health care does not limit their access to BMT.

Read the clinical summary

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Tomlinson B, de Lima M, Cogle CR, et al. Transplantation Referral Patterns for Patients with Newly Diagnosed Higher-Risk Myelodysplastic Syndromes and Acute Myeloid Leukemia at Academic and Community Sites in the Connect® Myeloid Disease Registry: Potential Barriers to Care. Transplant Cell Ther. 2023;29(7): 460.e1-460.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtct.2023.04.011.