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Keywords:

  • myelodysplastic syndromes;
  • flow cytometry;
  • diagnosis;
  • CD34

Abstract

It has long been considered that flow cytometry (FCM) has little role in clinical practice in the diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). However, recent advances in the analytical method and knowledge of MDS FCM are changing this stereotype. This paper reviews the concept and current status of FCM in the diagnosis of low-grade MDS. The diagnosis of low-grade MDS in the absence of ringed sideroblasts and chromosomal aberration is not always straightforward, and a report from a recent international working conference has proposed FCM as an adjunctive diagnostic test for such cases. Currently, only a limited number of laboratories are applying FCM to the diagnosis of MDS. Furthermore, standard analytical methods in FCM for MDS have not been established, and no single FCM parameter is sufficiently sensitive and specific to make the diagnosis of MDS. To establish MDS FCM as a widely accepted, dependable diagnostic tool, prospective studies should increase flow parameters that can be analysed reproducibly and determine their sensitivity and specificity, either alone or in combination. CD34+ cell-related parameters that are applicable for diagnosing low-grade MDS in many laboratories are introduced here. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.