BACKGROUND: Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a heterogeneous group of clonal hematological malignancies. In MDS patients with a fibrotic bone marrow the aspiration of cells often fails (dry-tap), which hampers standard karyotyping. Obtaining genetic data from these fibrotic marrows is therefore challenging, and up till now in situ hybridization applied to bone marrow biopsies is the only option. The microarray-based genomic profiling technology has already proven its value for bone marrow aspirates and peripheral blood samples, but has never been applied to the technically challenging bone marrow biopsies. We describe an approach for microarray-based genomic profiling on bone marrow biopsies and demonstrate its ability to obtain clinically relevant cytogenetic aberrations. In addition the data were compared with those obtained by in situ hybridization and karyotyping.
RESULTS: We have evaluated the success rate of microarray-based genomic profiling by studying twenty-one bone marrow biopsies (7 fibrotic MDS, 12 non-fibrotic MDS and 2 reactive), by microarray-based genomic profiling and in situ hybridization (12 of 21 cases). The data obtained with these techniques were compared with conventional karyotyping data on corresponding bone marrow aspirates. Of the 15 copy number aberrations that were detected by in situ hybridization, 13 were concordant with microarray-based genomic profiling and karyotyping, whereas two hybridizations were misinterpreted. In 20 of 21 patients, the data obtained by microarray-based genomic profiling and karyotyping were identical or differences could be explained by the presence of marker chromosomes, complex karyotypes, clonal heterogeneity or disease progression.
CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that genome wide microarray-based genomic profiling performed on bone marrow biopsies has a similar success rate compared to in situ hybridization, and prevents misinterpretation of chromosomal losses as observed by FISH. In addition, equal to even higher resolutions were obtained with genomic profiling compared to conventional karyotyping. Our findings indicate that microarray-based profiling, even on bone marrow biopsies, is a valid approach for the identification of genetic abnormalities. This is a valuable substitution in cases of fibrotic MDS lacking cytogenetic results.