International Journal of Hematology

, Volume 79, Issue 2, pp 147–151 | Cite as

Transformation of myelodysplastic syndrome to acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A case report and review of the literature

  • Norihide Sato
  • Tomonori Nakazato
  • Masahiro Kizaki
  • Yasuo Ikeda
  • Shinichiro Okamoto
Case Report


Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) often transforms into acute leukemia, usually of a myeloid phenotype. However, the transformation of MDS into acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is extremely rare. We present a case of refractory anemia with excess of blasts (RAEB) that transformed into ALL. MDS (RAEB) was diagnosed in a 68-year-old Japanese woman in August 2001. Two months later, MDS progressed to erythroleukemia (French-American-British [FAB]classification, acute myeloid leukemia fAML]-M6), and in December, 2001, she was treated with combined chemotherapy containing aclarubicin, cytarabine, and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, which improved her clinical symptoms. However, 1 month after the chemotherapy, she developed ALL. The blasts at that time had a markedly basophilic cytoplasm with multiple cytoplasmic vac-uoles, and their morphology mimicked that of ALL-L3. The blasts also expressed CD13, a myeloid marker, in addition to lymphoid markers. Southern-blot analysis revealed rearrangement of the immunoglobulin heavy chain, but no additional chromosomal abnormality characteristic of ALL-L3 was detected. The patient was treated with chemotherapy, but she developed tumor lysis syndrome and died of multiple organ failure. Although the precise mechanism of lymphoid transformation is not yet fully understood, this case clinically supports the nature of MDS as a pluripotent hematopoietic stem cell disorder.

Key words

Myelodysplastic syndrome Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) 


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Hematology 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norihide Sato
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tomonori Nakazato
    • 1
  • Masahiro Kizaki
    • 1
  • Yasuo Ikeda
    • 1
  • Shinichiro Okamoto
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Hematology, Department of MedicineKeio University School of MedicineJapan
  2. 2.Second Department of Internal MedicineKyorin University School of MedicineTokyoJapan

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