Prospective analysis of the importance of the plasma levels of β-2 microglobulin (B2M) in 553 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) found that B2M is an independent prognostic variable for survival with weighted significance second only to the karyotype. The incorporation of the B2M covariate into risk assessment of MDS patients added significantly to the power of the IPSS to stratify MDS patients into risk categories. Our results further document that the 2 objectively measured covariates that display the highest power to predict survival, that is, karyotype and B2M, can alone be used for risk stratification. While the results must be verified in an independent and comparable population, our data strongly recommend routine measurement of B2M in patients with MDS.
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