Clinical implications and genetic features of clonal cytopenia of undetermined significance compared to lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome

Br J Haematol. 2022 Aug;198(4):703-712. doi: 10.1111/bjh.18273. Epub 2022 May 25.


Clonal cytopenia of undetermined significance (CCUS) is characterized by persistent cytopenias with genetic aberrations, which do not meet the diagnostic criteria for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). We aimed to compare the clinical and genetic characteristics of CCUS with lower-risk MDS and identify patients with CCUS with a high risk of progression. We performed targeted sequencing of bone marrow (BM) samples from patients with idiopathic cytopenia of undetermined significance (ICUS) (n = 139) and MDS (n = 226). Overall survival (OS) of patients with CCUS (n = 78) was worse than non-clonal ICUS (n = 61) and superior to lower-risk MDS (n = 99). Patients with CCUS showed similar characteristics to those with lower-risk MDS, except for higher haemoglobin, lower BM cellularity, and less frequent SF3B1 mutations. Lower haemoglobin, DDX41 (biallelic germline and somatic), ETV6, and RUNX1 mutations were independent prognostic factors for worse OS. Lower haemoglobin and DDX41 mutations were also associated with lower progression-free survival. Patients with CCUS with high-risk features showed similar or worse OS than patients with lower-risk MDS. Our findings suggest that patients with CCUS having certain clinical or genetic features should be regarded and treated as lower-risk MDS despite lacking significant dysplasia or MDS-associated chromosomal abnormalities.

Keywords: DDX41; clonal cytopenia of undetermined significance; idiopathic cytopenia of undetermined significance; myelodysplastic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Clonal Hematopoiesis*
  • Hemoglobins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes* / diagnosis
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes* / genetics


  • Hemoglobins