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Clinical, immunophenotypic and genomic findings of NK lymphoblastic leukemia: a study from the Bone Marrow Pathology Group.

Weinberg OK,Chisholm KM,Ok CY,Fedoriw Y,Grzywacz B,Kurzer JH,Mason EF,Moser KA,Bhattacharya S,Xu M,Babu D,Foucar K,Tam W,Bagg A,Orazi A,George TI,Wang W,Wang SA,Arber DA,Hasserjian RP
阅读:45 Modern PathologyVolume 34 Issue 7, July 2021:1358-1366 

Abstract

Natural killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes of the native immune system that play a pivotal role in host defense and immune surveillance. While the conceptual view of NK-neoplasms is evolving, little is known about the rare NK lymphoblastic leukemia (NK-LL), which remains as a provisional entity in the 2016 WHO Classification. The goal of this study is to characterize NK-LL cases and compare with other CD56 co-expressing acute leukemias. We identified 105 cases, diagnosed as NK-LL (6), CD56+ acute undifferentiated leukemia (AUL) (6), CD56+ T-lymphoblastic leukemia (T-LL) (51), and CD56+ acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (42). Compared to AUL patients, NK-LL patients were significantly younger (p = 0.021) and presented with higher white blood cell (WBC) (p = 0.037) and platelet counts (p = 0.041). Flow cytometry showed more frequent expression of cytoplasmic CD3 (cCD3, p = 0.064) and CD33, (p = 0.065), while HLA-DR was significantly absent from NK-LL (p = 0.035) compared to AUL. Compared to T-ALL, NK-LL cases showed less frequent cCD3 (p = 0.002), CD4 (p = 0.051), and CD10 expression (p = 0.06). The frequency of abnormal karyotypes was similar between NK-LL, AUL, and T-ALL. The mutational profile differed in four leukemia groups, with a significance enrichment of NOTCH1 (p = 0.002), ETV6 (p = 0.002) and JAK3 (p = 0.02) mutations in NK-LL as compared to AML. As compared to T-ALL, NK-LL cases showed a higher number of total mutations (p = 0.04) and significantly more frequent ETV6 mutations (p = 0.004). Clinical outcome data showed differences in overall survival between all four groups (p = 0.0175), but no difference in event free survival (p = 0.246). In this largest study to date, we find that that NK-LL shows clinical presentation, immunophenotypic and molecular characteristics distinct from AUL, T-ALL, and AML. Our findings suggest NK-LL is a distinct acute leukemia entity and should be considered in the clinical diagnosis of acute leukemias of ambiguous lineage.

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