Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm

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Akriti Jain University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida

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Kendra Sweet Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida

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Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) is a rare hematologic malignancy with an aggressive clinical course and poor prognosis. BPDCN is most often characterized by its presentation with distinct cutaneous lesions. Bone marrow involvement, lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly, and/or cytopenias are also seen to varying degrees. BPDCN presents with diffuse, monomorphous blasts with irregular nuclei, fine chromatin, and scant, agranular cytoplasm. Expression of CD4, CD56, and CD123 is the hallmark of BPDCN. The presence of ≥4 of CD4, CD56, CD123, TCL1, TCF4, and CD303 is necessary for the diagnosis of BPDCN. Prior to December 2018, management of BPDCN revolved around intensive chemotherapy using acute myeloid leukemia or acute lymphoblastic leukemia regimens. However, responses were transient with poor overall survival (OS). Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) is the only potentially curative treatment for BPDCN. Even so, only a minority of patients are candidates for alloSCT given the preponderance of disease in older individuals. For the few fit patients who are candidates for alloSCT, the aim is to achieve complete remission prior to alloSCT. Tagraxofusp (SL-401), a recombinant fusion protein containing interleukin-3 fused to truncated diphtheria toxin, was the first approved CD123-targeted therapy for BPDCN based on a phase I/II clinical trial showing a 90% overall response rate. It was approved by the FDA on December 21, 2018. Capillary leak syndrome is an important adverse effect of tagraxofusp that requires close monitoring. Several clinical trials are underway to study other regimens for the treatment of BPDCN, including IMGN632 (pivekimab sunirine), venetoclax (alone and in combination with hypomethylating agents), CAR-T cells, and bispecific monoclonal antibodies.

Submitted December 22, 2022; final revision received March 25, 2023; accepted for publication March 28, 2023.

Disclosures: Dr. Sweet has disclosed serving as a consultant for and on advisory boards for Gilead Sciences, Bristol Myers Squibb, Astellas Pharma, BerGenBio, AROG Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Novartis, Curis, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Mablytics, Inc., Daiichi Sankyo, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals; and receiving grant/research support from Incyte and Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Jain has disclosed not having any financial interests, arrangements, affiliations, or commercial interests with the manufacturers of any products discussed in this article or their competitors.

Correspondence: Kendra Sweet, MD, Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612. Email: Kendra.Sweet@moffitt.org
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