Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) is a rare hematologic malignancy with poor outcome. BPDCN diagnostically overlaps with entities such as acute myeloid leukemia, histiocytic/dendritic cell neoplasms, and natural killer/T-cell lymphomas. Unfortunately, large, patient-centered studies that comprehensively analyze clinical, pathologic, and other diagnostic features are lacking. As such, there is an incomplete understanding of this disease.


To better characterize BPDCN, a multicenter working group consisting of hematopathologists and dermatopathologists gathered in person and remotely to review the current understanding of BPDCN, discuss specific issues regarding the diagnosis and differential diagnosis, and perform a retrospective analysis of the literature.

Data Sources.—

The working group curated a database of published BPDCN patient cases (BPDCN Network literature database) following careful discussion and review, 361 articles were identified, comprising a total of 1513 individually annotated patients.


By conducting an in-depth analysis, not only did we confirm known findings such as frequent skin involvement (84% of patients; 861 of 1028) and a male predominance among older patients (>60 years old; male to female ratio of 3.5:1; 617:177), but we also identified a number of underrecognized features, such as significant central nervous system involvement (38% of cases; 24 of 64), and a more equal male to female prevalence among patients younger than 40 years (male to female ratio of 1.25:1; 167:134). Furthermore, we were able to accurately summarize the immunophenotypic, cytogenetic, and molecular features of this disease. BPDCN is a complex disease with distinct morphologic, immunophenotypic, and molecular findings. Continual updates of the literature database generated here and further analysis can allow for prospective refinement of our understanding of this orphan disease.

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This study was supported with funding from Stemline Therapeutics.

Competing Interests

Hussaini has served on the advisory board for Stemline Therapeutics. Gru has served as a consultant for Stemline Therapeutics and received grant support from the company as an investigator. Querfeld has served as a consultant for Stemline Therapeutics. The other authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article

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