The diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) remains problematic due to the subjective nature of morphological assessment. The reported high frequency of somatic mutations and increased structural variants by array-based cytogenetics have provided potential objective markers of disease however this has been complicated by reports of similar abnormalities in the healthy population. We aimed to identify distinguishing features between those with early MDS and reported healthy individuals by characterising 69 patients who, following a non-diagnostic marrow, developed progressive dysplasia or acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Targeted sequencing and array based cytogenetics identified a driver mutation and/or structural variant in 91% (63/69) of pre-diagnostic samples with the mutational spectrum mirroring that in the MDS population. When compared with the reported healthy population the mutations detected had significantly greater median variant allele fraction (40% vs 9-10%) and occurred more commonly with additional mutations (≥2 mutations 64% vs. 8%). Furthermore mutational analysis identified a high-risk group of patients with shorter time to disease progression and poorer overall survival. The mutational features in our cohort are distinct from those seen in the healthy population and, even in the absence of definitive disease, can predict outcome. Early detection may allow consideration of intervention in poor risk patients.
|Early online date||21 Sep 2015|
|Publication status||Published - 19 Nov 2015|