MAR 29, 2022 3:00 AM PDT

The Role of Flow Cytometry in Diagnosis of Myelodysplastic Syndromes

WRITTEN BY: Katie Kokolus

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) describe cancers resulting from abnormal cells in the bone marrow. The abnormal bone marrow cells generate defective blood cells, which die earlier than normal blood cells. Additionally, the body naturally eliminates abnormal blood cells. Thus, patients with MDS cannot maintain enough healthy blood cells.    

There are three main types of blood cells: red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets.  RBCs, also known as erythrocytes, transport oxygen between the lungs and the rest of the body.  WBCs, also called leukocytes, contain immune cells which protect the body from foreign invaders.  Platelets are small cell pieces involved in blood clotting. 

Cytopenia refers to a condition where the counts of at least one type of blood cell is lower than expected. When a patient presents with low RBCs, WBCs, or platelet counts, they would have anemialeukopenia, or thrombocytopenia, respectively.  Pancytopenia occurs when all three blood cell types are low.

The diagnostic testing for patients with cytopenia suspected of MDS includes flow cytometric analysis. Despite the guidelines including this testing, the added value of the analysis remains unclear. A recent study published in Cytometry Part B Clinical Cytometry describes how flow cytometry (FCM) complements other diagnostic tests allowing doctors to make a definitive MDS diagnosis. The authors present six separate case studies in which FCM, in combination with observed clinical features and other diagnostic tools, led doctors to determine if the patient had MDS or not.

FCM is a laboratory procedure that analyzes the characteristics of cells.  For FCM testing, di ferent proteins on or in the cells are tagged using fluorescent-labeled antibodies.  Cells are then suspended in fluid and injected into the flow cytometer.  The cells can then be analyzed based on their size and the proteins they express.

The authors conclude that all six studies described in their manuscript demonstrate different ways FCM can assist in fast and efficient diagnosis early in the clinical investigation.  Importantly, FCM works as a complement to other tools in the diagnostic process. 

 

Sources: Cytometry B Clin Cytom, Curr Protocol Immunol

 

About the Author
PhD
PhD in Tumor Immunology. I am interested in developing novel strategies to improve the efficacy of immunotherapies used to extend cancer survivorship.
You May Also Like
MAR 15, 2022
Cardiology
Muscle-Strengthening Exercises Lower Risk of Death
MAR 15, 2022
Muscle-Strengthening Exercises Lower Risk of Death
Most research has focused on the benefits of aerobic exercise; a new study shows that muscle strengthening also lowers r ...
MAR 18, 2022
Neuroscience
Researchers Identify New Biomarker for Depression and Treatment Response
MAR 18, 2022
Researchers Identify New Biomarker for Depression and Treatment Response
Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have identified a novel biomarker for depression that predicts the eff ...
APR 14, 2022
Cardiology
Sleep and Heart Health
APR 14, 2022
Sleep and Heart Health
Sleep is increasingly recognized as a key to maintaining heart health.
APR 21, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
An Emerging Need to Diagnose Maladaptive Daydreaming
APR 21, 2022
An Emerging Need to Diagnose Maladaptive Daydreaming
Maladaptive daydreaming (MD), also called daydreaming disorder, occurs in people who experience intense daydreams o ...
MAY 03, 2022
Cardiology
Marathon Training Reduces Your Heart's Age
MAY 03, 2022
Marathon Training Reduces Your Heart's Age
First-time marathon runners in a 6-month training program saw major heart benefits in a recent study.
JUN 08, 2022
Coronavirus
How are you Preparing for the Next Covid Surge?
JUN 08, 2022
How are you Preparing for the Next Covid Surge?
After two years of uncertainty, we can definitely say that the coronavirus (Covid-19) has changed our everyday lives as ...
Loading Comments...