Is FISH a relevant prognostic tool in myelodysplastic syndromes with a normal chromosome pattern on conventional cytogenetics? A study on 57 patients

P. Bernasconi, P. M. Cavigliano, M. Boni, S. Calatroni, C. Klersy, I. Giardini, B. Rocca, N. Crosetto, M. Caresana, M. Lazzarino, C. Bernasconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Conventional cytogenetics (CC) at clinical diagnosis shows a normal karyotype in 40-60% of de novo myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) might detect occult aberrations in these patients. Therefore, we have used FISH to check 57 MDS patients who were karyotypically normal on CC. At clinical diagnosis, FISH revealed a clonal abnormality in 18-28% interphase cells from nine patients, five of whom also presented the same defect on metaphase FISH. In five out of nine patients, the occult defect effected a change in the international prognostic scoring system (IPSS). An abnormal FISH pattern was significantly correlated with marrow blast cell percentage (P-3) and IPSS (P-3). Patients with an occult abnormality showed an overall survival and event-free survival significantly inferior in comparison to those of patients with normal FISH (P-3, P-3). Death and AML progression were 15- and eight-fold more frequent in FISH abnormal patients. In conclusion, occult defects (1) are revealed in about 15% of CC normal MDS patients, (2) are overlooked by CC either because of the poor quality of metaphases or their submicroscopic nature, (3) are clinically relevant as they may cause a change in the IPSS category and may identify a fraction of CC normal patients with an unfavorable clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2107-2112
Number of pages6
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003



  • Chromosome abnormalities
  • Conventional cytogenetics
  • FISH
  • IPSS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology

Cite this