Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is a clonal hematologic disorder that was classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a myelodysplastic/ myeloproliferative overlap disease. Cytogenetic abnormalities have a significant prognostic role in many hematologic neoplasms, but their prognostic value in CMML has been debatable. Recently, monosomal karyotype (MK) has been reported to be a marker of poor prognosis in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and primary myelofibrosis, but its value in CMML is unknown.


To study MK effect on clinical outcome for patients diagnosed with CMML


A retrospective study of all cases diagnosed with CMML at Mayo Clinic Rochester between 1994 to 2011 was performed. Only pts with complete cytogenetic analysis at presentation to our institution were included. MK was defined as the presence of ≥ 2 autosomal monosomies or one autosomal monosomy with at least one structural abnormality (Breems et al, JCO 2008). CK was defined as the presence of at least 3 chromosomal abnormalities. Appropriate IRB approval was obtained in accordance with Helsinki declaration. Comparison between groups’ medians was done using Wilcoxon test, while survival estimates were calculated using Kaplan-Meier curves using JMP V9.


A total of 262 pts diagnosed with CMML had available cytogenetic data at diagnosis. Median age was 72 years, 176 (67%) were male. Median hemoglobin 10.5 g/dL, white blood cells (wbc) 12 x109/L, platelet 89 x109/L, peripheral blood (PB) blast 0, and bone marrow (BM) blast 4%. CMML2 was seen in 9% while 47% were proliferative (wbc >13). Leukemic transformation was documented in 34 pts (13%). Median overall survival was 513 days.

Cytogenetic (CG) analysis was diploid in 167 pts (64%). Trisomy 8 was the most frequent cytogenetic abnormality at 8% (22), followed by complex karyotype (CK) 5% (14), then -7 at 4% (10) and MK 3% (7, six of which were also CK). Comparing pts with diploid CG to other categories indicates: to abnormal CG pts had lower wbc (0.001), PB blasts (p<0.0001), and BM blasts (p=0.0001); to CK pts had lower PB blasts (p=0.003) and higher platelets (p=0.03); to -7 pts had lower wbc (p=0.005), PB blast (p=0.0004), BM blasts (p=0.03) and higher platelets (p=0.03); to +8 pts had lower PB blast (p=0.02) and BM blasts (p= 0.01); no difference was noted when compared to MK.

Median OS was statistically significantly worse in MK+ vs MK- (24 vs 527 days, p= 0.002), but not in other comparisons: -7 vs others (250 vs 527 days, p=0.2), CK+ vs CK- (256 vs 527 days, p=0.05), diploid vs others (570 vs 365 days, p=0.1), +8 vs others (312 vs 527 days, p=0.1). Pts with MK+ only or MK+CK+ did worse than CK+ only or other groups (4, 63, 304, 527 days, respectively, p<0.0001). On a multivariate analysis, MK+ (in addition to platelet, BM blast, hemoglobin, and wbc) did have an impact on OS (p=0.0004), while CK+, -7, +8, diploid CG, age, PB blast did not.


Cytogenetic abnormalities were not frequent findings in pts diagnosed with CMML (36%), but did affect wbc, PB and BM blasts. The most common cytogenetic abnormality was +8 while MK was present at 3% (less than published data in MDS). Only MK predicted statistically significant shorter mOS between all other cytogenetic categories on both univariate and multivariate analysis. This finding needs to be validated by larger cohorts of pts due to its rare occurrence in CMML.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.