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Semin Diagn Pathol. 2011 Nov;28(4):273-82.

Role of flow cytometry in diagnostics of myelodysplastic syndromes--beyond the WHO 2008 classification.

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Department of Laboratory Hematology, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Multiparameter flow cytometry (FCM) is an excellent method to follow the expression patterns of differentiation antigens using monoclonal antibodies to surface and cytoplasmic proteins. Although several authors described various aberrant immunophenotypic features in the bone marrow of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), the World Health Organization 2008 classification recommended that, only if 3 or more phenotypic abnormalities are found involving 1 or more of the myeloid lineages can the aberrant FCM findings be considered suggestive of MDS. In the absence of conclusive morphologic and/or cytogenetic features, FCM abnormalities alone were considered not sufficient to establish MDS diagnosis and further follow-up of the patients was recommended. Review of the literature gives accumulating evidence that FCM has become an important part of the integrated diagnostic work-up of patients with suspected MDS. Several studies have also reported FCM findings significant for prognosis and therapy choice in MDS patients. Technical progress in multicolor FCM and new analysis programs, together with ongoing efforts to standardize the methodology, will make it possible to apply FCM in individual risk assessment and choice of best therapy for MDS patients.

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