Bone marrow examination for unexplained cytopenias reveals nonspecific findings in patients with collagen vascular disease

Kristin E. Hunt, Mohamed E. Salama, Cordelia E. Sever, Kathryn Foucar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Context. - Collagen vascular diseases are frequently included in the differential diagnosis for unexplained cytopenias and often prompt a bone marrow biopsy in this patient population to exclude malignancy. Few large-scale studies have characterized the bone marrow morphology in patients with collagen vascular disease, and most are limited to systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis. Objective. - To identify morphologic and immunohistochemical abnormalities specific to each of a wide range of collagen vascular disease cases. Design. - We examined 102 cases of collagen vascular disease and 38 controls and evaluated the complete blood count, peripheral blood morphology, bone marrow morphology, as well as immunohistochemical staining, for numerous cell lineages. Results. - Bone marrow findings, including abnormalities such as lymphoid aggregates, lipogranulomas, or abnormal localization of immature precursors, were not significantly different as compared to the control group. Conclusions. - Bone marrow examination in patients with collagen vascular disease with cytopenias seldom provides new information. Caution should be exercised in interpreting morphologic findings suggestive of myelodysplasia since these are of a reactive nature in up to 27% of patients with collagen vascular disease. In a cost-effective diagnostic strategy, successful utilization may favor postponing a bone marrow biopsy while a more standardized autoimmune diagnostic panel is being performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-954
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

Cite this