Genetic features of myelodysplastic syndrome and aplastic anemia in pediatric and young adult patients.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Haematologica (2016)


Clinical and histopathological distinction between the inherited versus acquired bone marrow failure or myelodysplastic syndromes is challenging. The identification of inherited bone marrow failure/ myelodysplastic syndromes is critical to inform appropriate clinical management. To investigate whether a subset of pediatric and young adults undergoing transplant for aplastic anemia or myelodysplastic syndrome have germline mutations in bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome genes, we performed a targeted genetic screen of samples obtained between 1990-2012 from children and young adults with aplastic anemia or myelodysplastic syndrome transplanted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Mutations in inherited bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome genes were found in 5.1%(5/98) of aplastic anemia patients and 13.6%(15/110) of myelodysplastic syndrome patients. While the majority of mutations were constitutional, a RUNX1 mutation present in the peripheral blood at a fifty-percent variant allele fraction was confirmed to be somatically acquired in one myelodysplastic syndrome patient. This highlights the importance of distinguishing germline versus somatic mutations by sequencing DNA from a second tissue or from parents. Pathologic mutations were present in DKC1, MPL, and TP53 among the aplastic anemia cohort, and in FANCA, GATA2, MPL, RTEL1, RUNX1, SBDS, TERT, TINF2, and TP53 among the myelodysplastic syndrome cohort. Family history or physical examination failed to reliably predict the presence of germline mutations. This study shows that while any single specific bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome genetic disorder is rare, screening for these disorders in aggregate identifies a significant subset of patients with inherited bone marrow failure/myelodysplastic syndrome.