A new study has observed that C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) are elevated in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) at presentation.

The study, published in the Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Diseases, provides data that could help reveal potential therapeutic targets in future studies.

“Despite the recognition of the involvement of inflammatory processes in MDS pathogenesis, using inflammatory markers in daily practice as a part of the diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic course, is limited,” the authors wrote. “We report here our observation of CRP and/or ESR in patients with MDS at presentation.”

The research team analyzed the records of 113 patients with MDS and CRP or ESR lab results and 100 controls from a single center in Helsinki, Finland. CRP levels greater than 5 mg/L were considered abnormally high, and an abnormally high ESR was defined as more than 25 mm in the first hour.

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The results revealed that in the MDS group, the mean CRP level was 11.9 mg/L compared with 4.1 mg/L for the controls, and the mean ESR was 33.2 mm in the MDS group and 27.8 mm in the controls. Thirty-one of 80 patients with MDS had high CRP levels compared with 23 of 95 controls. In addition, 17 of 33 patients in the MDS group had elevated ESR compared with 13 of 30 in the control group.

Stratification of CRP levels showed that the vast majority of patients in the control group had mild elevations compared with moderate or high elevations in the MDS group.

The authors note that these easily accessible biomarkers can be used as a tool in daily practice to help determine diagnoses, establish staging, and assist with prognostication in addition to potentially indicating therapeutic targets in patients with MDS.


Oster HS, Skylar E, Golsdshmidt N, Mittelman M. Routine inflammatory markers are elevated in myelodysplastic syndromes at presentation. Mediter J Hematol Infec Dis. Published online July 1, 2023. doi:10.4084/MJHID.2023.044