The proliferation marker Ki-67 is widely used within the field of diagnostic histopathology as a prognostic marker for solid cancers. However, Ki-67 is hardly used for prognostic and diagnostic purposes in flow cytometric analyses of hematologic neoplasms. In the present study, we investigated to what extent the proliferative activity, as determined by Ki-67 expression, is disturbed in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and MDS/MPN diseases. Bone marrow aspirates from 74 patients suffering from MPN, MDS, or MDS/MPN, and aspirates from 50 non-malignant cases were analyzed by flow cytometry for Ki-67 expression in the erythro-, myelo-, and monopoiesis. Ki-67 expression was used to investigate the proliferative activity during the various maturation steps within these hematopoietic cell lineages. In the MPN patient cohort, the proliferative activity of all cell lineages is significantly higher during almost all maturation stages compared to those of the benign control cohort. In the MDS and MDS/MPN cohort, a significantly lower proliferative activity is observed in the early maturation stages. In the MDS/MPN patient cohort, increased proliferative activity is seen in the later stages of the maturation. MDS and MDS/MPN display a distinct pattern in the proliferating fraction of maturing hematopoietic cells. This could become of added value in order to classify these malignancies based on their biological background and behavior, as well as in gaining a better understanding into the pathobiology of these malignancies.
- flow cytometry