Mixed Phenotype Acute Leukemia (MPAL), T/Myeloid, Not Otherwise Specified
Narsis Attar, MD, PhD, Fabiola Quintero-Rivera, MD University of California, Irvine
Acute leukemias of ambiguous lineage
Cancer Sub-Classification / Subtype
Mixed-phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL), T/myeloid, not otherwise specified (NOS)
Definition / Description of Disease
This malignancy is defined as a distinct entity in the WHO classification as a subtype of mixed-phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL). It fulfills the criteria for both T-cell and myeloid lineage and requires the absence of genetic mutations associated with other MPAL subtypes (e.g. KMT2A or BCR-ABL1 rearrangement).
Epidemiology / Prevalence
A rare entity accounting for <1% of all leukemias. It is seen both in adult and pediatric populations.
Patient with mixed-phenotype acute leukemia, T/myeloid, NOS present with signs and symptoms similar to other acute leukemias including an elevated white blood cell count.
Sites of Involvement
Blasts with no distinguishing features resembling lymphoblastic leukemia OR a dimorphic blast population with some resembling lymphoblasts and others myeloblasts.
The blasts must meet criteria for both T-cell and myeloid lineage assignment.
According to the WHO, T-cell assignment is defined as having cytoplasmic CD3 (using antibody to CD3 epsilon chain). The European Group for the Immunological Characterization of Leukemias (EGIL) criteria also includes CD7, CD5 and CD2. The WHO myeloid lineage assignment requires MPO expression (by flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry or cytochemistry) or monocytic differentiation with 2 of the following CD11c, CD14, CD64, lysozyme, non-specific esterase. The EGIL criteria also considers CD13, CD33 and CD117 (c-kit), among a number of other markers that are variably weighted, in defining the myeloid lineage.
Chromosomal Rearrangements (Gene Fusions)
Must lack t(v;11q23.3); KMT2A rearrangement and t(9;22)(q34.1;q11.2); BCR-ABL1 rearrangement
Characteristic Chromosomal Aberrations / Patterns
Gene Mutations (SNV/INDEL)
MPALs with T-lineage differentiation are more often found to have either PHF6 or DNMT3A mutations. Genetic lesions in NOTCH1 have also been reported in a subset of cases and are thought to be exclusively associated with T/myeloid MPAL. The overall mutational burden may be higher in MPALs with T-lineage differentiation.
Methylation status is not determined for this subtype of MPAL. Mutations in epigenetic regulatory genes (DNMT3A, IDH2, EZH2, WT1, RUNX1, ETV6, and ASXL1) have been reported in MPAL with T/myeloid phenotype. Of note, DNMT3A mutations were observed in 33% of adult MPAL patients.
Diagnostic Testing Methods
Diagnosis rests on immunophenotypic features. Flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry are the methods of choice.
Clinical Significance (Diagnosis, Prognosis and Therapeutic Implications)
Prognosis: Although data is limited, MPAL T-myeloid, NOS is considered to have a poor prognosis.
Treatment: Retrospective studies suggest higher rates of complete remission and at least equivalent overall survival with ALL-therapy regimen compared with AML therapy. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is utilized and may be effective in MPAL. High quality prospective studies are needed to determine the optimal therapy for MPAL.
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