Hypocellular acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is uncommon. Despite the prognostic and therapeutic importance of mutational analysis, the mutational landscape of hypocellular AML is not well understood.
We identified 25 patients with hypocellular AML, and 141 patients with nonhypocellular AML were identified as a control group. We applied next-generation sequencing for the first time to profile this entity.
The hypocellular AML patients were older than those with nonhypocellular AML (P = .037). At diagnosis, hypocellular AML had lower leukocyte counts (P = .012), higher hemoglobin (P = .003), and lower blast counts in the peripheral blood (P < .001) and bone marrow (P = .003). Hypocellular AML was less likely to have mutations involving cell proliferation (P = .027) and NPM1 (P = .022) compared with nonhypocellular AML. Hypocellular AML showed a high incidence of spliceosomal mutations and myelodysplastic syndrome-defining chromosome abnormalities (65%), but the incidence was not significantly different from that in nonhypocellular AML. There was no significant survival difference between hypocellular and nonhypocellular AML.
To our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate hypocellular AML showed fewer genetic alterations involving cell proliferation and NPM1 when compared directly with nonhypocellular AML; this finding likely contributes to the low marrow cellularity in at least a portion of the patients with hypocellular AML.

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