Recent advances in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) have highlighted the prevalence of mutations in the calreticulin gene (CALR), bringing a major new actor in these disorders. CALR mutations were reported in 25% of ET and in 35% of MF patients, which were non-mutated for JAK2 and MPL. CALR mutations lead to a frame-shift generating a common 36 amino acids C-terminal end and loss of the KDEL motif. Two variants account for 85% of the CALR mutations in ET and PMF: type 1, a 52-bp deletion and type2, a 5-bp insertion.
572 MPN patients negative for JAK2 and MPL mutations were collected from several French and Belgian hospitals. In our series, 396 patients were diagnosed as ET, 108 as MF and 68 as mixed MDS/MPN. We identified mutations of CALR in 368 patients (63.3%). The remaining 204 patients were designated as triple negative. In MF there was an over representation of type 1 mutation (70%) and an under representation of type 2 mutation (13%) as compared to patients with ET. This bias was associated with a higher allelic burden of CALR mutation in MF.
MF patients represent a quite homogeneous group, mostly composed of men diagnosed at a median age of 62.5 with a low hemoglobin concentration (10.1 g/dl) and a low platelet count (median at 237 x 109/l). In ET patients the clinical presentation was more heterogeneous. They were mostly women (more than 61%) at a median age of diagnosis of 57 with a median platelet count of 724 x 109/l. In CALR mutated patients there were no sex prevalence and a more important thrombocytosis (785 x 109/l). The type of CALR mutation impacted also age and platelet count.
We report the caracterisation of triple negative patients. In ETs they were mostly women (76.9%), particularly for ET patients under 50 years old that were almost exclusively women (27/28). In MF, triple negative patients presented a low hemoglobin concentration (8.85 g/dl) and a low leukocyte count (1.995 x 109/l). A striking characteristic is their platelet count, which was significantly lower than their group mates either in ET or in MF. This lower platelet count may suggest that in the general population, putative asymptomatic triple negative ET male patients could be retrieved, which would only be diagnosed at more advanced age with a symptomatic MF.
Taken together, our results underline the differences between the two most frequent types of CALR mutation and show that CALR mutated patients should not be considered as a single entity.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.