Neoplasms involving plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells (pDCs) include Blastic pDC Neoplasms (BPDCN) and other pDC proliferations, where pDCs are associated with myeloid malignancies: most frequently Chronic MyeloMonocytic Leukemia (CMML) but also Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), hereafter named pDC-AML. We aimed to determine the reactive or neoplastic origin of pDCs in pDC-AML, and their link with the CD34+ blasts, monocytes or conventional DCs (cDCs) associated in the same sample, by phenotypic and molecular analyses (targeted NGS, 70 genes). We compared 15 pDC-AML at diagnosis with 21 BPDCN and 11 normal pDCs from healthy donors. CD45low CD34+ blasts were found in all cases (10-80% of medullar cells), associated with pDCs (4-36%), monocytes in 14 cases (1-10%) and cDCs (2 cases, 4.8-19%). pDCs in pDC-AML harbor a clearly different phenotype from BPDCN: CD4+ CD56- in 100% of cases, most frequently CD303+, CD304+ and CD34+; lower expression of cTCL1 and CD123 with isolated lymphoid markers (CD22/CD7/CD5) in some cases, suggesting a pre-pDC stage. In all cases, pDCs, monocytes and cDC are neoplastic since they harbor the same mutations as CD34+ blasts. RUNX1 is the most commonly mutated gene: detected in all AML with minimal differentiation (M0-AML) but not in the other cases. Despite low number of cases, the systematic association between M0-AML, RUNX1 mutations and an excess of pDC is puzzling. Further evaluation in a larger cohort is required to confirm RUNX1 mutations in pDC-AML with minimal differentiation and to investigate whether it represents a proliferation of blasts with macrophage and DC progenitor potential.
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