Does that MDS diagnosis need a second opinion?

Aug. 8, 2023
New study by Sylvester researchers, collaborators highlights difficulty in diagnosing blood disorders, need for coordination between clinicians and pathologists.

Blood disorders known as myelodysplastic syndromes/neoplasms (MDS) are difficult to diagnose – and are commonly misdiagnosed – putting patients at increased risk for treatment mistakes and other potentially harmful consequences, according to researchers with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and collaborating organizations.

Their findings published Aug.8 in Blood Advances, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Hematology, highlight the vital need for strong coordination between clinicians and skilled pathologists to ensure accurate, timely diagnosis of blood cancers.

Key findings from the study included:

  • Approximately one-third of cases received diagnostic reclassification after central pathologists’ review.
  • One-fifth of MDS diagnoses were reclassified.
  • 15% percent of the disagreements between local and central pathologists were the result of site miscoding errors by research coordinators, calling into question the accuracy of national cancer registries that include patients with MDS.
  • Treatment rates were lower in cases with diagnostic disagreement versus ones in which local and central reviewers agreed.
  • Misdiagnosed cases led to patients receiving inappropriate therapy in 7% of cases.

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center release on Newswise