Background:Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) is a rare and fatal myeloid malignancy characterized by clonal proliferation of immature plasmacytoid dendritic cells. BDCN has been frequently described in men and age above 60 years, and usually involves the skin and bone marrow. Immunophenotyping is based on CD123+, CD4+ and CD56+ expression and is necessary rule out other myeloid malignancies.


We aimed to describe the clinical characteristics and immunophenotype of BPDCN cases diagnosed at two tertiary Peruvian cancer institutions between 2018-2019.


We retrospectively reviewed medical records of patients diagnosed of BPDCN at two tertiary Peruvian cancer centers (Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplasicas and Oncosalud-AUNA, Lima-Peru) between 2008 and 2019. Clinical characteristics, treatments, outcomes and immunophenotype by pathology or flow cytometry review, were collected. Patients were classified according to their maturation stage using CD34 and CD117 expression into three subgroups: Immature-Intermediate blastic (IIB-BPDCN; partial expression of CD117 and absence or minimal expression of CD34), mature (M-BPDCN; absence of CD34 and CD117) and unknown(U-BPDCN). Overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) curves were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared with the Log-rank test to determine the impact of immunophenotype.


Thirty-eight cases were included during the study period. The median age at diagnosis was 38 years (7-82), only six (16%) were older than 65 years, and a notorious female predominance (F/M ratio: 1.7:1) was observed. Twenty-four cases had CD34/117 expression available and were classified according to the maturation stage in IIB-BPDCN (13) and M-BPDCN(11), additionally 14 cases had unknown stage (U-BPDCN). Table 1 summarizes clinical characteristics, treatment and outcomes according to their immunophenotype. Bone marrow infiltration was more frequent in immature phenotypes (92% IIB-BPDCN vs 73% M-BPDCN, p=0.001), as well as skin infiltration was more common in mature phenotype (72% vs 31%, p=0.008). CNS infiltration at diagnosis was 15% and 55% in IIB-BPDCN and M-BPDCN, respectively. Sixteen patients received treatment based on ALL-like protocols, 8 AML-like, 5 CHOP-like and 9 patients only palliative care. At 5 years median follow-up, median EFS and OS was 12 and 16 months, respectively. IIB-BPDCN had the lowest survival (4 months EFS and 6 months OS).


We describe a Peruvian cohort of BPDCN patients with younger age at diagnosis and female predominance than reported previously by other series, however further studies in Latino population are required to confirm these results. Immature phenotypes based on CD34 and CD117 expression were associated with high rate of bone marrow infiltration and fatal outcomes. New successful target therapies must be warranted for this rare and fatal condition.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.