Dr. Komrokji on MDS Risk Factors and Preventative Measures

Rami S. Komrokji, MD
Published: Friday, Mar 06, 2015



Rami S. Komrokji, MD, clinical director, Hematologic Malignancies, Moffitt Cancer Center, discusses the risk factors of developing myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and any preventative measures.

It is unclear why the majority of patients develop MDS, Komrokji says. It is thought to be a process of aging and various environmental factors. There are some genetic components linked to MDS; however, they are rare. If there is a significant family history of MDS, Komrokji recommends patients have their blood counts monitored regularly.

In terms of long-term exposure, Komrokji says environmental or industrial chemicals such as benzene may trigger MDS. One of the sources of benzene exposure is tobacco use, he adds, leading there to be some association between tobacco and MDS. Possible preventative measures include regular exercise, a balanced diet, and no smoking.

MDS can also be discovered when a patient is receiving chemotherapy or radiation for another disease, Komrokji says. It’s a possibility this could be due to stem cell damage; however, patients could also have predisposition, such as small clones of a p53 mutation.

If these patients can be better identified in the future, Komrokji hopes that their therapies can be better tailored to avoid treatments that could trigger MDS.


Rami S. Komrokji, MD, clinical director, Hematologic Malignancies, Moffitt Cancer Center, discusses the risk factors of developing myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and any preventative measures.

It is unclear why the majority of patients develop MDS, Komrokji says. It is thought to be a process of aging and various environmental factors. There are some genetic components linked to MDS; however, they are rare. If there is a significant family history of MDS, Komrokji recommends patients have their blood counts monitored regularly.

In terms of long-term exposure, Komrokji says environmental or industrial chemicals such as benzene may trigger MDS. One of the sources of benzene exposure is tobacco use, he adds, leading there to be some association between tobacco and MDS. Possible preventative measures include regular exercise, a balanced diet, and no smoking.

MDS can also be discovered when a patient is receiving chemotherapy or radiation for another disease, Komrokji says. It’s a possibility this could be due to stem cell damage; however, patients could also have predisposition, such as small clones of a p53 mutation.

If these patients can be better identified in the future, Komrokji hopes that their therapies can be better tailored to avoid treatments that could trigger MDS.

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