An Expert's Look Into the World of Rare Blood Cancers

By Chadi Nabhan, MD, MBA, FACP - Last Updated: July 26, 2023

Naveen Pemmaraju, MD, Associate Professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, talks about the rare, ultrarare, and forgotten blood cancers, including his lifelong work in blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN), in this episode of The HemOnc Pulse.

“You have a disease that is not being diagnosed properly,” Dr. Pemmaraju said. “It’s kind of hiding in plain sight … so either assigned out as AML-NOS or AML with leukemia acutus.”

He said that it took the field of hematology oncology 10 years to get an immunohistochemistry flow diagnostic algorithm for BPDCN. There were also several iterations of the name and classification of the disease.

“The name changed so many times … the classification …  [the last five classifications] within the [World Health Organization], it’s either changed name, or family of neoplasms,” Dr. Pemmaraju said. “Then you finally have a name. You have a diagnosis. Now, the next 10 years—are there identifying features of the rare disease that either set it apart from the more common diseases?”

Find all episodes of The HemOnc Pulse here.

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