A hierarchical approach in the diagnostic workflow of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: Pivotal role of the "Mono-dysplasia-score" combined with flow cytometric quantification of monocyte subsets

Int J Lab Hematol. 2019 Dec;41(6):782-790. doi: 10.1111/ijlh.13115. Epub 2019 Oct 24.


Introduction: Monocytosis is a frequent trigger for blood smear review in a routine hematology laboratory whereas chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is infrequent and arises mostly in elderly patients. In order to define the best workflow for monocytosis, we studied three diagnostic approaches: the classical morphology approach (blood smear review), the flow cytometry assay (quantification of monocyte subsets as described by Selimoglu-Buet et al in 2015), and the "mono-dysplasia-score" also referred to as "Monoscore (as described by our team in 2018 using the structural parameters of the Sysmex XN™ analyzers).

Methods: Studying a multicentric cohort of 196 nonclonal monocytoses and CMML patients aged over 50 years, we compared the diagnostic performance of the three approaches alone and in combination to propose a diagnostic decision tree.

Results: In patients presenting with additional criteria for slide review to monocytosis (37% of our cohort), we propose to sequentially combine morphology, Monoscore, and flow cytometry. On the contrary, for patients with isolated monocytosis (63%), slide review is not mandatory and we suggest performing flow cytometry depending on the Monoscore value. Using the proposed algorithm, 98% of CMML patients would have been correctly identified, slide review rate drastically reduced, and flow cytometry would have been carried out in 44% of patients.

Conclusion: We have shown that implementation of Monoscore is a useful input filter to significantly reduce slide reviews without losing sensitivity and that flow cytometry is a performant technique in the second step of the diagnostic workup of CMML.

Keywords: chronic myelomonocytic leukemia; classical monocytes fraction; flow cytometry; mono-dysplasia score; monocyte subsets.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Decision Trees
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Leukocytosis
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Workflow*