Diagnostic utility of flow cytometry in low-grade myelodysplastic syndromes: A prospective validation study

Kiyoyuki Ogata, Matteo G. Della Porta, Luca Malcovati, Cristina Picone, Norio Yokose, Akira Matsuda, Taishi Yamashita, Hideto Tamura, Junichi Tsukada, Kazuo Dan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndromes is not always straightforward when patients lack specific diagnostic markers, such as blast excess, karyotype abnormality, and ringed sideroblasts. Design and Methods: We designed a flow cytometry protocol applicable in many laboratories and verified its diagnostic utility in patients without those diagnostic markers. The cardinal parameters, analyzable from one cell aliquot, were myeloblasts (%), B-cell progenitors (%), myeloblast CD45 expression, and channel number of side scatter where the maximum number of granulocytes occurs. The adjunctive parameters were CD11b, CD15, and CD56 expression (%) on myeloblasts. Marrow samples from 106 control patients with cytopenia and 134 low-grade myelodysplastic syndromes patients, including 81 lacking both ringed sideroblasts and cytogenetic aberrations, were prospectively analyzed in Japan and Italy. Results: Data outside the predetermined reference range in 2 or more parameters (multiple abnormalities) were common in myelodysplastic syndromes patients. In those lacking ringed sideroblasts and cytogenetic aberrations, multiple abnormalities were observed in 8/26 Japanese (30.8%) and 37/55 Italians (67.3%) when the cardinal parameters alone were considered, and in 17/26 Japanese (65.4%) and 42/47 Italians (89.4%) when all parameters were taken into account. Multiple abnormalities were rare in controls. When data from all parameters were used, the diagnostic sensitivities were 65% and 89%, specificities were 98% and 90%, and likelihood ratios were 28.1 and 8.5 for the Japanese and Italian cohorts, respectively. Conclusions: This protocol can be used in the diagnostic work-up of low-grade myelodysplastic syndromes patients who lack specific diagnostic markers, although further improvement in diagnostic power is desirable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1066-1074
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • Diagnosis
  • Flow cytometry
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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