Clinical and experimental evidence suggests an immune-mediated pathophysiology in subjects with lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) in whom immunosuppressive therapy may be effective. The novel immunosuppressive strategy of cyclosporine A (CsA) alternately combined with levamisole (LMS; CsA + LMS regimen) can dramatically improve the response rate and survival in aplastic anemia from those of our previous study. Herein, we retrospectively analyzed the data of 89 lower-risk MDS patients who received the CsA + LMS regimen. A total of 63 patients (70.8%) achieved either complete remission or hematological improvement at 4 months. Overall, 51, 41 and 19 patients had erythroid, platelet and neutrophil responses, respectively. Following the CsA + LMS regimen, 6 patients progressed to more advanced MDS at a median interval of 5 months (range, 3-42 months). The estimated 24-month progression-free survival was 82.2% (95% CI, 72.84-91.56) for all patients. Within the median follow-up of 18.5 months (range, 7.0-61.0), 6 patients died. In conclusion, the CsA + LMS regimen alleviated cytopenias and improved survival and freedom from evolution, suggesting that it could be reserved as an alternative choice for lower-risk MDS.

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