Importance: Up to two-thirds of African American individuals carry the benign rs2814778-CC genotype that lowers total white blood cell (WBC) count.
Objective: To examine whether the rs2814778-CC genotype is associated with an increased likelihood of receiving a bone marrow biopsy (BMB) for an isolated low WBC count.
Design, setting, and participants: This retrospective genetic association study assessed African American patients younger than 90 years who underwent a BMB at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Mount Sinai Health System, or Children's Hospital of Philadelphia from January 1, 1998, to December 31, 2020.
Exposure: The rs2814778-CC genotype.
Main outcomes and measures: The proportion of individuals with the CC genotype who underwent BMB for an isolated low WBC count and had a normal biopsy result compared with the proportion of individuals with the CC genotype who underwent BMB for other indications and had a normal biopsy result.
Results: Among 399 individuals who underwent a BMB (mean [SD] age, 41.8 [22.5] years, 234 [59%] female), 277 (69%) had the CC genotype. A total of 35 patients (9%) had clinical histories of isolated low WBC counts, and 364 (91%) had other histories. Of those with a clinical history of isolated low WBC count, 34 of 35 (97%) had the CC genotype vs 243 of 364 (67%) of those without a low WBC count history. Among those with the CC genotype, 33 of 34 (97%) had normal results for biopsies performed for isolated low WBC counts compared with 134 of 243 individuals (55%) with biopsies performed for other histories (P < .001).
Conclusions and relevance: In this genetic association study, among patients of African American race who had a BMB with a clinical history of isolated low WBC counts, the rs2814778-CC genotype was highly prevalent, and 97% of these BMBs identified no hematologic abnormality. Accounting for the rs2814778-CC genotype in clinical decision-making could avoid unnecessary BMB procedures.