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Leukemia. 2002 Nov;16(11):2249-52.

More cell death in refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation than in acute myeloid leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Hematopathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation (RAEB-T) is a subgroup of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in which the bone marrow blast count ranges from 20% to 30%. The recently proposed World Health Organization Classification of Hematologic Malignancies eliminated this category from MDS by lowering the blast count cutoff for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) from 30% to 20%. However, MDS is distinguished from AML by a significant increase in apoptosis. To investigate the difference in apoptosis between RAEB-T, AML, and other categories of MDS, we prospectively analyzed fresh bone marrow samples using the Annexin V and mitochondrial potential assays. There was a significantly higher level of apoptosis in RAEB-T than in AML according to both assays, while no significant differences between RAEB-T and other categories of MDS were noted. The data suggest that RAEB-T is more likely to be an advanced stage of MDS and biologically different from AML.

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