Myelodysplastic syndromes. A clinical and pathologic analysis of 109 cases

Kathy Foucar, Robert M. Langdon, James O. Armitage, Daniel B. Olson, Thomas J. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


A total of 109 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) was analyzed to determine the clinical and pathologic features of the five recently defined French‐American‐British Cooperative Group (FAB) subtypes, and to assess the utility of this classification system in predicting survival, evolution to acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL), and cause of death. All patients with MDS presented with anemia; additional cytopenias were present in patients with refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB), chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) and refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation to ANLL (RAEB/Tr). Thirty‐two patients received some form of antileukemic therapy for MDS. ANLL developed in 16 of the 77 remaining untreated patients, including 18% (2/11), 0% (0/21), 22% (5/23), 33% (2/6), and 44% (7/16) of patients with refractory anemia (RA), refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts (RARS), RAEB, CMML, and RAEB/Tr, respectively (P = 0.02). The FAB subtype was highly predictive of survival with median survivals ranging from 71 months for RARS to 5 months for RAEB/Tr (P = <0.0001). Patients with RAEB, CMML, and RAEB/Tr frequently died of direct consequences of MDS, while patients with RA and especially RARS generally survived or died from unrelated disorders (P = < 0.0001). MDS encompass a spectrum of disorders. RA and RARS, are relatively indolent and often do not lead to the patient's demise. RAEB, CMML, and RAEB/Tr are aggressive disorders which are often responsible for the patient's death whether or not actual progression to overt leukemia occurs. FAB subtype predicts survival, evolution to ANLL, and cause of death, although the five morphologic subtypes appear to separate into only two disease groups, especially with regard to survival and cause of death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-561
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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