Flow cytometry has become ‘gold standard’ for detecting abnormal clones in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), aplastic anemia (AA) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). This pilot study was conducted in 2015 with a primary aim to evaluate the utility of single tube fluorescent aerolysin (FLAER) based testing and its comparison with two tubes non-FLAER based testing (CD55, CD59, CD24 and CD66b) in detecting abnormal PNH clones in these newly diagnosed cases. The secondary aim was an attempt to distinguish PNH from AA/MDS cases associated with PNH clones based on clinical, laboratory features and clone size at diagnosis. In this study, the abnormal PNH clones were detected using a single tube FLAER based testing and two tubes non-FLAER based testing in all cases of PNH (n = 12), healthy subjects (n = 18) and AA/MDS with PNH clone (n = 9) and compared with clinical and laboratory features at diagnosis. The receiver operator curve (ROC) analysis defined the optimal cut-offs for FLAER in granulocytes (> 0.7%) and monocytes (> 0.9%). There was significant positive correlation between FLAER and non-FLAER based testing in these cells (r > 0.3 and p < 0.05). FLAER based testing helped us in picking up smaller clones which were missed by latter technique in four patients thereby increasing its sensitivity and also technically proved to be cost-effective (Rs. 1800 vs. Rs. 2100). Even in PNH patients, the clone size was slightly higher by using FLAER when compared to non-FLAER based antibodies panel. The clone size of monocytes was always higher than granulocytes in both PNH and AA/MDS groups. Bone marrow cellularity and mean size of granulocytes and monocytes clone at diagnosis showed a striking statistically significant ‘p’ value of < 0.0001 between these groups. In this pilot study, a single tube FLAER based PNH testing had improved clone detection in all cases of PNH, AA/MDS with PNH clones. The clone size was > 30% in majority of PNH cases whereas in AA/MDS, it was usually < 10% at diagnosis. Hence this newer technique not only increased the sensitivity of PNH clone detection but also proved to be cost-effective.
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We thank “Indian Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion” for funding Rs. 50,000/– Grant for this study.
Funding was provided by HERS and Indian Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (Grant No. IESC/T-161/02.05.2014).
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Manivannan, P., Tyagi, S., Pati, H.P. et al. FLAER Based Assay According to Newer Guidelines Increases Sensitivity of PNH Clone Detection. Indian J Hematol Blood Transfus 36, 526–534 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12288-019-01220-8
- Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
- Aplastic anemia
- Myelodysplastic syndrome