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Myelodysplastic syndromes in childhood: a population based study of nine cases.

Nine cases of de novo myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) in childhood from a population based study are presented. The annual incidence of MDS was 3.4/1,000,000 in children less than 15 years old, corresponding to 8.7% of all haematological malignancies in childhood. Two patients had Down's syndrome. None of the remaining patients had constitutional anomalies. All patients were classified according to the FAB classification. Five patients presented with refractory anaemia (RA), only one of these did not progress, one showed clonal evolution, and the remaining three patients all progressed to refractory anaemia with excess of blasts (RAEB). Three patients presented with RAEB. Two progressed to overt leukaemia. The last patient was classified as chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML). Clonal cytogenetic abnormalities were detected in five patients, in three of them as monosomy 7. Five patients have died; two of progressive disease, two of infections, and one of haemorrhage, two of the latter three patients died during therapy induced cytopenia. Of the four patients still alive, one patient showed a complete remission after cyclosporine and later immunoglobulin therapy, one patient is a long-term survivor after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, and one patient apparently obtained a spontaneous remission several months after chemotherapy.

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