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Br J Haematol. 1998 Jul;102(2):486-94.

Patients with high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome can have polyclonal or clonal haemopoiesis in complete haematological remission.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium.


The clonality of mature peripheral blood-derived myeloid and lymphoid cells and bone marrow haemopoietic progenitors from 18 females with myelodysplasia (MDS) (five refractory anaemia, RA; one RA with ringed sideroblasts, RARS; three chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia, CMML; four RA with excess of blasts, RAEB; five RAEB in transformation, RAEB-t) was studied by X-chromosome inactivation analysis. Using the human androgen-receptor (HUMARA) assay, we analysed the clonal patterns of highly purified immature CD34+ 38- and committed CD34+ 38+ marrow-derived progenitors, and CD16+ 14- granulocytes, CD14+ monocytes, CD3+ T and CD19+ B lymphocytes from peripheral blood. In high-risk patients (RAEB, RAEB-t), clonality analysis was performed before and after intensive remission-induction treatment. All patients, except one with RA, had predominance of a single clone in their granulocytes and monocytes. The same clonal pattern was found in CD34+ progenitor cells. In contrast, CD3+ T lymphocytes were polyclonal or oligoclonal in 14/18 patients. X-chromosome inactivation patterns of CD19+ B cells were highly concordant with CD3+ T cells except for two patients (one RA, one CMML) with monoclonal B and polyclonal T lymphocytes, therefore suggesting a clonal mutation in a progenitor common to the myeloid and B-lymphoid lineages or the coexistence of MDS and a B-cell disorder in these particular patients. After high-dose non-myeloablative chemotherapy, polyclonal haemopoiesis was reinstalled in the mature myeloid cells and immature and committed marrow progenitors in three of four patients achieving complete haematological remission. Therefore we conclude that most haematological remissions in MDS are associated with restoration of polyclonal haemopoiesis.

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