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Multiparametric in situ imaging of NPM1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia reveals prognostically-relevant features of the marrow microenvironment

Authors: Patel, Sanjay S.; Lipschitz, Mikel; Pinkus, Geraldine S.; Weirather, Jason L.; Pozdnyakova, Olga; Mason, Emily F.; Inghirami, Giorgio; Hasserjian, Robert P.; Rodig, Scott J.; Weinberg, Olga K.

Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0498-z

Issue: Mod Pathol. 2020 Jul;33(7):1380-1388.


Ancillary testing during the initial workup of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is largely performed using aspirated materials. We utilized multiplex immunofluorescence (MIF) imaging with digital image analysis to perform an in situ analysis of the microenvironment in NPM1-mutated AML using diagnostic bone marrow biopsy tissues (N = 17) and correlated these findings with diagnostic next-generation sequencing (NGS, N = 17), flow cytometry (FC, N = 14), and first remission (CR1) NPM1-specific molecular MRD (n = 16) data. The total CD3-positive T-cell percentages correlated positively between FC and MIF (r = 0.53, p = 0.05), but were significantly lower by MIF (1.62% vs. 3.4%, p = 0.009). The percentage of mutant NPM1-positive (NPM1c+) cells ranged from 9.7 to 90.8% (median 45.4%) and did not correlate with the NPM1 mutant allele fraction by NGS (p > 0.05). The percentage of CD34+/NPM1c+ cells ranged from 0 to 1.8% (median 0.07%). The percentage of NPM1c+ cells correlated inversely (34% vs. 62%, p = 0.03), while the percentages of CD3-/NPM1c- cells (64% vs. 35%, p = 0.03), and specifically CD3-/CD4-/NPM1c- cells (26% vs. 13%, p = 0.04), correlated positively with subsequent MRD. Discordances between MIF and FC/NGS data suggest that aspirate materials are likely an imperfect reflection of the core biopsy tissue. Furthermore, increased numbers of NPM1 wild-type cells within the microenvironment at diagnosis correlate with the subsequent presence of MRD.