Cellular and Molecular Biology


Bone marrow histopathology in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)- evaluation of distinctive features with clinical impact

J. Thiele, H.M. Kvasnicka and R. Fischer

Institute of Pathology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Offprint requests to: Dr. Juergen Thiele, M.D., Instiute of Pathology, University of Cologne, Joseph-Stelzmannstr. 9, D-50924 Cologne, Germany. Fax: +49-0221-478630. e-mail: j.thiele@uni-koeln.de


Summary. Bone marrow features in stable-phase chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) are characterized by a striking heterogeneity which is determinable by appropriate means including representative pre-treatment trephine biopsies, immunohistochemistry and morpho-metry. Cell lineages involved to a variable extent consist not only of neutrophil granulopoiesis, but include also megakaryocytes, erythroid precursors, resident macro-phages and lymphocytes. Moreover, the stromal compartment, in particular reticulin and collagen fibers, plays a pivotal role in the disease process. Following morphometric analysis significant correlations may be calculated between histological parameters and clinical-laboratory findings. Relevant interactions are detectable between number of megakaryocytes and their precursors with fiber density. This finding is in line with the close functional relationships between megakaryopoiesis and fibroblasts regarding the complex pathomechanisms of myelofibrosis. Moreover, other correlations are observable between reduction of erythropoiesis or increase in fibers with clinical features like anemia, percentages of myelo- and erythroblasts in the peripheral blood, spleen size or LDH level. These variables are in keeping with more advanced stages of CML which indicate a transition to myeloid metaplasia and thus exert a significant impact on survival. Consequently, the different risk profiles of patients are determined by both clinical and morphological parameters of predictive value. Regarding the latter, extent of myelofibrosis, amount of erythroid precursors and numbers of myelo-erythroblasts in the peripheral blood are significantly associated with prognosis. For this reason, it should be mandatory to enter morphological criteria into prospective clinical trials on CML, not only for diagnotic purpose, but also for a proper evaluation of different survival patterns. Histol. Histopathol. 14, 1241-1256 (1999)

Key words: CML, Histopathology, Immunohisto-chemistry, Morphometry, Prognosis, Steroid hormones and bone

DOI: 10.14670/HH-14.1241