Accurate diagnosis and classification of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) requires integration of clinical, morphological, and genetic findings. Despite major advances in our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of MPNs, the morphological assessment of bone marrow trephines (BMT) is critical in differentiating MPN subtypes and their reactive mimics. However, morphological assessment is heavily constrained by a reliance on subjective, qualitative, and poorly reproducible criteria. To improve the morphological assessment of MPNs, we have developed a machine learning approach for the automated identification, quantitative analysis, and abstract representation of megakaryocyte features using reactive/nonneoplastic BMT samples (n = 43) and those from patients with established diagnoses of essential thrombocythemia (n = 45), polycythemia vera (n = 18), or myelofibrosis (n = 25). We describe the application of an automated workflow for the identification and delineation of relevant histological features from routinely prepared BMTs. Subsequent analysis enabled the tissue diagnosis of MPN with a high predictive accuracy (area under the curve = 0.95) and revealed clear evidence of the potential to discriminate between important MPN subtypes. Our method of visually representing abstracted megakaryocyte features in the context of analyzed patient cohorts facilitates the interpretation and monitoring of samples in a manner that is beyond conventional approaches. The automated BMT phenotyping approach described here has significant potential as an adjunct to standard genetic and molecular testing in established or suspected MPN patients, either as part of the routine diagnostic pathway or in the assessment of disease progression/response to treatment.
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