Oncogenesis and ontogeny of blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) remain uncertain, between canonical plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and AXL+ SIGLEC6+ DCs (AS-DCs). We compared 12 BPDCN to 164 acute leukemia by Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 arrays: BPDCN were closer to B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), with enrichment in pDC, B-cell signatures, vesicular transport, deubiquitination pathways, and AS-DC signatures, but only in some cases. Importantly, 1 T-cell ALL clustered with BPDCN, with compatible morphology, immunophenotype (cCD3+ sCD3- CD123+ cTCL1+ CD304+), and genetics. Many oncogenetic pathways are deregulated in BPDCN compared with normal pDC, such as cell-cycle kinases, and importantly, the transcription factor SOX4, involved in B ontogeny, pDC ontogeny, and cancer cell invasion. High-throughput sequencing (HaloPlex) showed myeloid mutations (TET2, 62%; ASXL1, 46%; ZRSR2, 31%) associated with lymphoid mutations (IKZF1), whereas single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array (Affymetrix SNP array 6.0) revealed frequent losses (mean: 9 per patient) involving key hematological oncogenes (RB1, IKZF1/2/3, ETV6, NR3C1, CDKN2A/B, TP53) and immune response genes (IFNGR, TGFB, CLEC4C, IFNA cluster). Various markers suggest an AS-DC origin, but not in all patients, and some of these abnormalities are related to the leukemogenesis process, such as the 9p deletion, leading to decreased expression of genes encoding type I interferons. In addition, the AS-DC profile is only found in a subgroup of patients. Overall, the cellular ontogenic origin of BPDCN remains to be characterized, and these results highlight the heterogeneity of BPDCN, with a risk of a diagnostic trap.
© 2021 by The American Society of Hematology.