Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) describes a group of bone marrow malignancies with variable morphologies and heterogeneous clinical features. The aim of this study was to systematically appraise the published clinical, laboratory, and pathologic characteristics and identify distinct clinical features of MDS in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. We conducted a comprehensive search of the PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases from 2000 to 2021 to identify population-based studies of MDS epidemiology in MENA countries. Of 1935 studies, 13 independent studies published between 2000 and 2021 representing 1306 patients with MDS in the MENA region were included. There was a median of 85 (range 20 to 243) patients per study. Seven studies were performed in Asian MENA countries (732 patients, 56%) and six in North African MENA countries (574 patients, 44%). The pooled mean age was 58.4 years (SD 13.14; 12 studies), and the male-to-female ratio was 1.4. The distribution of WHO MDS subtypes was significantly different between MENA, Western, and Far East populations ( n = 978 patients, p < 0.001). More patients from MENA countries were at high/very high IPSS risk than in Western and Far East populations (730 patients, p < 0.001). There were 562 patients (62.2%) with normal karyotypes and 341 (37.8%) with abnormal karyotypes. Our findings establish that MDS is prevalent within the MENA region and is more severe than in Western populations. MDS appears to be more severe with an unfavorable prognosis in the Asian MENA population than the North African MENA population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2832
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2023


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