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Gelatinous bone marrow transformation and emergence of clonal Philadelphia-negative cytogenetic abnormalities with excess blasts in a patient with chronic myeloid leukemia treated with dasatinib

Hermel, David J.a; Nael, Alib; Lu, Yi-Tsunga; Kim, Jacksona; Brynes, Russell K.b; Vergara-Lluri, Mariab; Akhtari, Mojtabaa

doi: 10.1097/CAD.0000000000000763

Gelatinous bone marrow transformation (GBMT) is a rare pathologic entity of unclear etiology characterized by adipose cell atrophy, focal hematopoietic tissue hypoplasia, and a distinct eosinophilic substance that stains with Alcian blue at pH 2.5. It is traditionally described in the context of malnutrition and cachexia from generalized disease and is important to identify because of its potential reversibility. Several recent case reports have described GBMT in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) on the first-generation tyrosine-kinase inhibitor (TKI) imatinib. Here, we describe a case of gelatinous transformation in a patient with CML receiving the second-generation TKI dasatinib who subsequently developed clonal cytogenetic abnormalities in Philadelphia chromosome negative cells with excess peripheral blasts consistent with advanced secondary myelodysplastic syndrome. While the development of clonal cytogenetic abnormalities in Philadelphia-negative cells has been frequently described in the setting of TKI, most abnormalities are transient and generally do not effect disease progression and/or transformation like in this case. Remarkably, after TKI discontinuation, repeat bone marrow biopsies had markedly diminished amounts of gelatinous transformation – supporting reversible GBMT with TKI removal. We review the relevant pathophysiology underlying our patient’s possible therapeutic-mediated complications during CML therapy in an attempt to better understand the role of TKIs in the pathogenesis of these conditions.

aDepartment of Medicine, The Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases

bHematopathology Section, Department of Pathology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA

Correspondence to David J. Hermel, MD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA Tel: +1 323 409 7556; e-mail:

Received March 28, 2018

Accepted September 28, 2018

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