In a retrospective study of 126 adult patients with French-American- British-defined refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts (RARS), staging by the International Prognostic Scoring System was highly predictive of survival outcome (P < 0.0001). In addition, red blood cell (RBC) transfusion requirement at diagnosis (P = 0.001), but not the number of RBC units transfused during the disease course (P = 0.17), was independently associated with inferior survival. There were no correlations between survival and serum ferritin level, measured either at diagnosis (median 567 ng/mL, range 16-3,475; P = 0.24) or during follow-up (median 1,108 ng/mL; range 238-43,500; P = 0.72). Similarly, there was no difference in survival when patients were stratified by serum ferritin levels of < or ≥ 1,000 ng/mL at diagnosis or peak serum ferritin levels of <1,000, 1,000-5,000, or >5,000 ng/mL during follow-up. The current study does not support the contention that transfusional hemosiderosis is an adverse prognostic factor in "good risk" myelodysplastic syndrome.
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