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Genome-wide DNA methylation-analysis of blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm identifies distinct molecular features.

Leukemia 2024 April 11
Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) constitutes a rare and aggressive malignancy originating from plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) with a primarily cutaneous tropism followed by dissemination to the bone marrow and other organs. We conducted a genome-wide analysis of the tumor methylome in an extended cohort of 45 BPDCN patients supplemented by WES and RNA-seq as well as ATAC-seq on selected cases. We determined the BPDCN DNA methylation profile and observed a dramatic loss of DNA methylation during malignant transformation from early and mature DCs towards BPDCN. DNA methylation profiles further differentiate between BPDCN, AML, CMML, and T-ALL exhibiting the most striking global demethylation, mitotic stress, and merely localized DNA hypermethylation in BPDCN resulting in pronounced inactivation of tumor suppressor genes by comparison. DNA methylation-based analysis of the tumor microenvironment by MethylCIBERSORT yielded two, prognostically relevant clusters (IC1 and IC2) with specific cellular composition and mutational spectra. Further, the transcriptional subgroups of BPDCN (C1 and C2) differ by DNA methylation signatures in interleukin/inflammatory signaling genes but also by higher transcription factor activity of JAK-STAT and NFkB signaling in C2 in contrast to an EZH2 dependence in C1-BPDCN. Our integrative characterization of BPDCN offers novel molecular insights and potential diagnostic applications.

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