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Haematologica. 2013 Jun;98(6):901-7. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2012.066217. Epub 2013 Feb 12.

Increased plasma thrombopoietin levels in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome: a reliable marker for a benign subset of bone marrow failure.

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  • 1Cellular Transplantation Biology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa, Japan.


Although myelodysplastic syndromes are heterogeneous disorders comprising a benign subset of bone marrow failure similar to aplastic anemia, no laboratory test has been established to distinguish it from bone marrow failures that can evolve into acute myeloid leukemia. Plasma thrombopoietin levels were measured in 120 patients who had myelodysplastic syndrome with thrombocytopenia (< 100 × 10(9)/L) to determine any correlation to markers associated with immune pathophysiology and outcome. Thrombopoietin levels were consistently low for patients with refractory anemia with excess of blasts, while patients with other myelodysplatic syndrome subsets had more variable results. Patients with thrombopoietin levels of 320 pg/mL and over had increased glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein-deficient blood cells (49.1% vs. 0%), were more likely to have a low International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) score (≤1.0, 100% vs. 65.5%), a higher response rate to immunosuppressive therapy (84.2% vs. 14.3%), and a better 5-year progression-free survival rate (94.1% vs. 63.6% for refractory cytopenia with unilineage dysplasia; 100.0% vs. 44.4% for refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia). In conclusion, increased plasma thrombopoietin levels were associated with a favorable prognosis of bone marrow failure and could, therefore, represent a reliable marker for a benign subset of myelodysplastic syndrome.

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