TCL1 expression in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DC2) and the related CD4+CD56+ blastic tumors of skin
Initially considered to be of natural killer (NK)–cell origin, CD4+ CD56+ blastic tumors (BTs) of skin have recently been proposed to be of dendritic cell lineage. We have previously described BTs with transformation to myelomonocytic leukemia. Here we report expression of the lymphoid proto-oncogene TCL1 in 10 (83%) of 12 BTs and in lymph node plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DC2s). TCL1 was also expressed in myelomonocytic blasts of 3 transformed BT cases but not in true NK-cell tumors (n = 18), de novo acute myelomonocytic leukemias (1 of 14, 7%), or mature T-cell malignancies (1 of 112, < 1%), with the exception of T-prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL). All BT cases were also positive for the DC2-associated marker CD123. These results further support derivation of BTs from DC2s, and demonstrate that TCL1 expression in this tumor is common to the immature blastoid, lymphoid-appearing, and subsequent myelomonocytic phases of this disease.