Frequency of benign neutropenia among Black versus White individuals undergoing a bone marrow assessment

J Cell Mol Med. 2022 Jul;26(13):3628-3635. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.17346. Epub 2022 Jun 1.


Healthy individuals in the United States identified as having Black race have lower neutrophil counts, on average, than individuals identified as having White race, which could result in more negative diagnostic evaluations for neutropenia. To test this hypothesis, the proportion of evaluations where the final diagnosis was clinically insignificant neutropenia for Black and White individuals who underwent an evaluation by a haematologist that included a bone marrow (BM) biopsy to investigate neutropenia was assessed. 172 individuals without prior haematological diagnoses who underwent a haematological evaluation to investigate neutropenia. Individuals diagnosed with clinically insignificant neutropenia between Black and White individuals were compared using a propensity-score-adjusted logistic regression. Of 172 individuals, 42 (24%) were classified as Black race, 86 (50%) were males, and the 79 (46%) were over 18 years old. A BM biopsy did not identify pathology in 95% (40 of 42) of Black individuals and 68% (89 of 130) of White Individuals. Black individuals (25 of 42 [60%]) received a final diagnosis of clinically insignificant neutropenia, compared to White individuals (12 of 130 [9%]) (adjusted odds ratio =7.9, 95% CI: 3.1 - 21.1). We conclude that black individuals were more likely to receive a diagnosis of clinically insignificant neutropenia after haematological assessment.

Keywords: bone marrow biopsy; neutropenia; racial differences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Marrow*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Neutropenia* / diagnosis
  • Odds Ratio
  • United States
  • White People