Raised percentage hypochromic red cells (%HRC) were detected at diagnosis in 10 of 34 consecutive patients with low-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) [refractory anemia (RA) (4/26) and RA with ring sideroblasts (6/8)], all of whom had normal or increased serum ferritin and bone marrow iron stores. Elevated %HRC has persisted in all 10 cases and subsequently developed in another RA patient who later had a complete remission of MDS with normalisation of %HRC after a respiratory tract infection. A strong positive correlation was found between %HRC and erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin levels in 11 MDS patients tested (p=0.01), suggesting that functional iron deficiency contributes to ineffective erythropoiesis in cases of MDS with raised %HRC. Five of seven patients with elevated %HRC had satisfactory haemoglobin responses to a trial of human recombinant erythropoietin without iron supplementation.
- Erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Percentage hypochromic red cells
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