Vitamin K2 induces differentiation of leukemic cell lines and apoptosis of immature blasts in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). We recently reported a case of MDS-refractory anemia (MDS-RA) with trilineage hematologic response to oral administration of menatetrenone, a vitamin K2 analogue. To determine a possible role of this agent in treatment of MDS-RA, we conducted a prospective randomized trial assessing the safety and efficacy of menatetrenone. A total of 18 consecutive patients newly diagnosed with MDS-RA were randomized to receive either 45 mg of oral menatetrenone (group 1) or no menatetrenone (group 2). Administration of menatetrenone was well tolerated. Of the nine patients in group 1 (56%), five improved with menatetrenone treatment while only one (11%) of the group 2 patients improved. Three patients (33%) showed a major response in absolute neutrophil count (ANC), two (22%) showed a major response in hemoglobin concentration, and two of the nine (22%) showed a major response in platelet count. The ANC of group 1 patients rose after treatment, while that of group 2 patients decreased slightly at follow-up after 16 weeks (p=0.03). Significant improvement was also seen in final platelet count (p=0.01), but not in hemoglobin concentration. Given the absence of toxicity, menatetrenone can be recommended for all patients with MDS-RA.
My speculation is that since A, D, and K2 (MK-4) are of critical importance in bone formation and health, it should come as no surprise to see effectiveness when supplementing a vitamin that is increasingly devoid of important levels in food supplies to people deficient in the vitamin, which includes almost everyone.
From the Wikipedia entry for myelodysplastic syndromes:
Myelodysplastic syndromes are bone marrow stem cell disorders resulting in disorderly and ineffective hematopoiesis (blood production) manifested by irreversible quantitative and qualitative defects in hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells. In a majority of cases, the course of disease is chronic with gradually worsening cytopenias due to progressive bone marrow failure. Approximately one-third of patients with MDS progress to AML within months to a few years.