Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) disorders are clonal diseases that often carry stereotypic chromosomal abnormalities. A smaller proportion of cases harbor point mutations that activate oncogenes or inactivate tumor suppressor genes. New technologies have accelerated the pace of discovery and are responsible for the identification of novel genetic mutations associated with MDS and other myeloid neoplasms. These discoveries have identified novel mechanisms in the pathogenesis of MDS. This article touches on the better known genetic abnormalities in MDS and explains in greater detail those that have been discovered more recently. Understanding how mutations lead to MDS and how they might cooperate with each other has become more complicated as the number of MDS-associated genetic abnormalities has grown. In some cases, these mutations have prognostic significance that could improve upon the various prognostic scoring systems in common clinical use.
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