NRP-1/CD304 Expression in Acute Leukemia: A Potential Marker for Minimal Residual Disease Detection in Precursor B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

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Neuropilin-1 (NRP-1)/CD304 is a marker for plasmacytoid dendritic cells. We determined the distribution of NRP-1/CD304 expression on normal hematopoietic cells and in 167 acute leukemias by flow cytometry. NRP-1/CD304 surface expression was frequent in precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (36/51 [71%]) and uncommon in acute myeloid leukemia (22.9%). In acute myeloid leukemia, expression was noted in all (4/4) acute myeloid leukemias with the M4eo subtype and in 50% of specimens (6/12) with complex cytogenetics. On hematopoietic cells, NRP-1/CD304 was expressed on normal erythroid progenitors, plasma cells, and B-cell progenitors, as well as plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Expression was not consistently detected on other hematopoietic cell types. Owing to this distribution of expression, the detection of NRP-1/CD304 alone on a hematopoietic cell cannot be used to determine plasmacytoid dendritic cell differentiation. Finally, we show that NRP-1/CD304 is overexpressed in 30% of precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia samples compared with normal B-cell progenitors, allowing for its potential use as a marker for the detection of minimal residual disease.

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