The Italian Consensus Conference on Diagnostic Criteria for Myelofibrosis with Myeloid Metaplasia


Dr Giovanni Barosi, Laboratorio di Informatica Medica, IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, Piazzale Golgi 2, 27100 Pavia, Italy. e-mail:


The purpose of this work was to develop a definition of myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia (MMM) using diagnostic criteria that would remain valid within the set of patients with chronic myeloproliferative disorders or myelodysplastic syndromes. A list of 12 names for the disease and 37 diagnostic criteria were proposed to a Consensus Panel of 12 Italian experts who ranked them in order so as to identify a core set of criteria. The Panel was then asked to score the diagnosis of 46 patient profiles as appropriate or not appropriate for MMM. Using the experts' consensus as the gold standard, the performance of 90 possible definitions of the disease obtained through the core set was evaluated. ‘Myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia’ ranked as the preferred name of the disease. Necessary criteria consisted of ‘diffuse bone marrow fibrosis’ and ‘absence of Philadelphia chromosome or BCR-ABL rearrangement in peripheral blood cells’. The six optional criteria in the core set consisted of: splenomegaly of any grade; anisopoikilocytosis with tear-drop erythrocytes; the presence of circulating immature myeloid cells; the presence of circulating erythroblasts; the presence of clusters of megakaryoblasts and anomalous megakaryocytes in bone marrow sections; myeloid metaplasia. The definition of the disease with the highest final score was as follows: necessary criteria plus any other two criteria when splenomegaly is present or any four when splenomegaly is absent. The use of this definition will help to standardize the conduct and reporting of clinical studies and should help practitioners in clinical practice.