Burst-forming unit-erythroid assays to distinguish cellular bone marrow failure disorders.

TitleBurst-forming unit-erythroid assays to distinguish cellular bone marrow failure disorders.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDeZern AE, Pu J, McDevitt MA, Jones RJ, Brodsky RA
JournalExperimental hematology
Date Published2013 Sep

Patients with cytopenias and a cellular bone marrow can be a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Previous reports suggested a role for progenitor assays for diagnosis and predicting response to therapy. We report the results of Burst-forming unit-erythroid (BFU-E) assays in 48 consultative cases of single or multilineage cytopenias with cellular marrows. The final diagnoses included 17 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, 9 patients with pure red cell aplasia (non-large granular lymphocytosis [LGL] in etiology], 15 patients with LGL (eight of whom had a single-lineage cytopenia only, whereas the other seven had multilineage cytopenias), and 7 patients with cytopenias associated with systemic inflammation from autoimmune conditions. In this cohort, nonmalignant diseases were well-distinguished from myelodysplastic syndrome by BFU-E growth. Our data suggest that low BFU-E growth (less than 10 BFU-E per 10(5) marrow mononuclear cells) helps to exclude LGL, pure red cell aplasia, or cytopenias associated with systemic inflammation as a cause of pancytopenia with a sensitivity of 96.8%, specificity of 76.5%, and a predictive value of 88.2% (p = 0.0001). BFU-E growth also was examined to predict treatment response. Of the 29 patients in this cohort treated with immunosuppressive therapy, there was an 86% response rate with 25 responders (11 partial responses and 14 complete responses) and 4 nonresponders. This result correlated with higher BFU-E growth. Our results suggest that BFU-E assays are a useful adjunct in the diagnosis and management of cytopenias in the setting of a normocellular or hypercellular marrows.

Alternate JournalExp. Hematol.