A Case of Myelofibrosis and Myelodysplasia Identified Following Exposure to Isotretinoin

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2021 Jan;43(1):e136-e137. doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000001691.


A 15-year-old male individual treated with isotretinoin for acne vulgaris presented with persistent pancytopenia and circulating myeloblasts after discontinuation of the drug. Marrow assessment revealed myelofibrosis (MF) and myeloblasts exhibiting monosomy 7, diagnostic of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Although a popular website seems to associate isotretinoin with MF, no published cases of MF or MDS attributable to this drug were identified. Although we expect that he would eventually have developed MDS and MF, this patient was perhaps identified sooner due to cytopenias accelerated by isotretinoin. This case illustrates that patients exhibiting cytopenias persisting following isotretinoin therapy merit evaluation for underlying hematopoietic disorders.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 7 / genetics
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / chemically induced
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes / genetics
  • Pancytopenia / chemically induced
  • Pancytopenia / diagnosis*
  • Pancytopenia / genetics
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / chemically induced
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Primary Myelofibrosis / genetics
  • Prognosis


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Isotretinoin

Supplementary concepts

  • Chromosome 7, monosomy