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American Society of Hematology, Blood, 5(139), p. 732-747, 2022

DOI: 10.1182/blood.2021012386



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Genetic and phenotypic attributes of splenic marginal zone lymphoma

Journal article published in 2022 by Ferdinando Bonfiglio ORCID, Alessio Bruscaggin, Francesca Guidetti, Lodovico Terzi di Bergamo, Martin Faderl ORCID, Valeria Spina, Adalgisa Condoluci, Luisella Bonomini, Gabriela Forestieri, Ricardo Koch, Deborah Piffaretti, Katia Pini, Maria Cristina Pirosa ORCID, Micol Giulia Cittone ORCID, Alberto Arribas ORCID and other authors.
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Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher

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Abstract Splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma (SMZL) is a heterogeneous clinico-biological entity. The clinical course is variable, multiple genes are mutated with no unifying mechanism, and essential regulatory pathways and surrounding microenvironments are diverse. We sought to clarify the heterogeneity of SMZL by resolving different subgroups and their underlying genomic abnormalities, pathway signatures, and microenvironment compositions to uncover biomarkers and therapeutic vulnerabilities. We studied 303 SMZL spleen samples collected through the IELSG46 multicenter international study (NCT02945319) by using a multiplatform approach. We carried out genetic and phenotypic analyses, defined self-organized signatures, validated the findings in independent primary tumor metadata and determined correlations with outcome data. We identified 2 prominent genetic clusters in SMZL, termed NNK (58% of cases, harboring NF-κB, NOTCH, and KLF2 modules) and DMT (32% of cases, with DNA-damage response, MAPK, and TLR modules). Genetic aberrations in multiple genes as well as cytogenetic and immunogenetic features distinguished NNK- from DMT-SMZLs. These genetic clusters not only have distinct underpinning biology, as judged by differences in gene-expression signatures, but also different outcomes, with inferior survival in NNK-SMZLs. Digital cytometry and in situ profiling segregated 2 basic types of SMZL immune microenvironments termed immune-suppressive SMZL (50% of cases, associated with inflammatory cells and immune checkpoint activation) and immune-silent SMZL (50% of cases, associated with an immune-excluded phenotype) with distinct mutational and clinical connotations. In summary, we propose a nosology of SMZL that can implement its classification and also aid in the development of rationally targeted treatments.