Medline: 3409176

Cancer 62(5): 958-964, 1988.

Hypoplastic myelodysplastic syndrome.

Nand S, Godwin JE


Over a period of 8 years 11 of 64 patients seen at Loyola University Medical Center with the diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) also exhibited bone marrow hypoplasia (marrow cellularity of 25% or less) at presentation. The other 53 had normocellular or hypercellular marrow. Clinical features, hemograms, chromosome analysis, incidence of progression to acute leukemia or aplastic anemia, and survival in each group were compared. Using the French-American-British (FAB) classification, there were seven patients with refractory anemia (RA), one refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts (RARS), and three refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB) in the hypoplastic MDS group. Those with normocellular or hypercellular marrow included 22 with RA, nine with RARS, 12 with RAEB, three with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, and four with RAEB in transformation; one had chronic diGuglielmo syndrome and two patients were not classified. Patients with hypoplastic MDS had lower hemoglobin levels (median, 8 g/dl versus 9 g/dl), more severe leucopenia (median 3100/microliter versus 4200/microliter) and thrombocytopenia (median, 28,000/microliter versus 75,000/microliter), and marked macrocytosis (mean corpuscular volume (MCV), 107 mu 3 versus 97 mu 3). Nine patients with hypoplastic MDS had a chromosome analysis of the bone marrow, and all were normal. In those with normocellular or hyperplastic bone marrow, 22 such analyses were done, and seven (23%) were abnormal. One patient (11%) from the hypoplastic group and 11 (23%) from the normocellular or hyperplastic MDS transformed into acute leukemia. None progressed to aplastic anemia. With a mean follow-up time of 33 months in the hypoplastic MDS, eight patients (72%) are alive. In the group with normal or hyperplastic MDS, the mean follow up was 47 months, and 27 patients (50%) have survived. The two groups differ significantly in leukocyte count (P less than 0.0015), platelet count (P less than 0.0001), and MCV (P less than 0.0023). There may be a possible difference between these groups related to abnormal karyotype, but it is not statistically significant (P = 0.06). Therapy with pyridoxine, folic acid, prednisone, anabolic steroids, retinoids, or low-dose cytosine arabinoside was not beneficial in hypoplastic MDS. Hypoplastic MDS appears to be a distinct clinicopathologic entity characterized by marrow hypoplasia, macrocytosis, severe leucopenia and thrombocytopenia, low incidence of progression to acute leukemia, and unresponsiveness to conventional therapy.

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