Current Hematologic Malignancy Reports

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 389–399

I Walk the Line: How to Tell MDS From Other Bone Marrow Failure Conditions

Myelodysplastic Syndromes (M Sekeres, Section Editor)


Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are clonal hematopoietic stem cell disorders characterized by peripheral cytopenias and ineffective hematopoiesis. MDS is an example of an age-related malignancy and its increasing prevalence and incidence can be attributed to a greater life expectancy in developed countries. Although frequently encountered in hematology/oncology clinics, MDS may constitute a diagnostic challenge especially with equivocal bone marrow morphology. Certain syndromes of bone marrow failure (BMF) may mimic MDS and formulating a correct diagnosis is vital for adequate prognostication as well as therapeutic approaches. Metaphase karyotyping (MK) is a very important diagnostic tool and marker of prognosis and can be an indicator of response to certain therapies. Unfortunately, chromosomal abnormalities may only be found in approximately 50 % of patients with MDS. In this review, we discuss the diagnostic approaches to patients with pancytopenia with a particular focus on the growing number of somatic mutations through new molecular testing.


Bone marrow failure Myelodysplastic syndrome Aplastic anemia Large granular lymphocytosis Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria Molecular markers SNP arrays Somatic mutations 


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Oncology, Division of Hematological MalignanciesJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Oncology, Division of Hematological MalignanciesJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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