Background: Despite increasing evidence that red blood cell (RBC) deformability is impaired in pathologic conditions, little research has been done on RBC deformability in hematologic diseases. The authors measured RBC deformability in patients with various hematologic diseases, including hematologic malignancies.
Methods: A total of 568 patients who underwent bone marrow (BM) examination for initial diagnosis were enrolled. We collected the subjects' age, gender, diagnosis of BM examination, and complete blood count results. The RBC deformability, which was quantified by an elongation index, was measured by a microfluidic ektacytometer. Results: RBC deformability was lower in primary myelofibrosis, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) from least to greatest. When the correlation between red blood cell distribution width (RDW) and RBC deformability was analyzed for 370 subjects in hematologic neoplasms, the correlation coefficient of RDW was -0.2974 (p < 0.01). When comparing MDS and aplastic anemia (AA), the deformability of MDS was significantly lower than that of AA.
Conclusions: RBC deformability was decreased in leukemic diseases such as AML, MDS, CML, and ALL compared to control, and RDW showed a negative correlation with deformability. RBC deformability may be used as a complementary differential diagnostic test for MDS and AA.