Background: Micromegakaryocytes (microMKs) are considered the most reliable dysplastic feature for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), particularly refractory cytopenia of childhood (RCC); there is no minimal threshold for the diagnosis of RCC. Since most RCC patients present with thrombocytopenia, the presence of microMKs should raise concern for MDS/RCC. This study attempted to investigate the prevalence of microMKs and associated marrow fibrosis in patients with thrombocytopenia unrelated to MDS/RCC and the need for establishing a threshold for microMKs for the diagnosis of MDS/RCC.
Design: Bone marrow biopsies of pediatric patients with thrombocytopenia unrelated to RCC were examined for microMKs and fibrosis by CD61 immunohistochemical and reticulin stains respectively.
Result: Thirty eight patients (1-18 years old) were included: 33 immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), 3 chronic thrombocytopenia, and 2 inherited macrothrombocytopenia. Fourteen cases (37%) had microMKs; four cases showed increased marrow fibrosis associated with microMKs (two had ITP and two had macrothrombocytopenia). All patients are alive and none developed MDS (follow up: 3months to 4 years).
Conclusion: MicroMKs can be seen in pediatric patients with thrombocytopenia unrelated to RCC. Hence the mere presence of microMKs is insufficient for the diagnosis of RCC in the pediatric population, and a quantitative threshold needs to be established.
Keywords: Marrow fibrosis; Micromegakaryocytes; Myelodysplastic syndrome; Refractory cytopenia of childhood; Thrombocytopenia.
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