The genetic basis of myelodysplasia and its clinical relevance

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Myelodysplasia is a diagnostic feature of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) but is also found in other myeloid neoplasms. Its molecular basis has been recently elucidated by means of massive parallel sequencing studies. About 90% of MDS patients carry ge;1 oncogenic mutations, and two thirds of them are found in individuals with a normal karyotype. Driver mutant genes include those of RNA splicing (SF3B1, SRSF2, U2AF1, and ZRSR2), DNA methylation (TET2, DNMT3A, and IDH1/2), chromatin modification (ASXL1 and EZH2), transcription regulation (RUNX1), DNA repair (TP53), signal transduction (CBL, NRAS, and KRAS), and cohesin complex (STAG2). Only 4 to 6 genes are consistently mutated in ge;10% MDS patients, whereas a long tail of ~50 genes are mutated less frequently. At presentation, most patients typically have 2 or 3 driver oncogenic mutations and hundreds of background mutations. MDS driver genes are also frequently mutated in other myeloid neoplasms. Reliable genotype/phenotype relationships include the association of the SF3B1 mutation with refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts, TET2/SRSF2 comutation with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, and activating CSF3R mutation with chronic neutrophilic leukemia. Although both founding and subclonal driver mutations have been shown to have prognostic significance, prospective clinical trials that include the molecular characterization of the patient's genome are now needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4021-4034
Number of pages14
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Dec 12 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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