Clonal non-malignant hematological disorders: unraveling molecular pathogenic mechanisms to develop novel targeted therapeutics
Risitano, Antonio M.
MetadataShow full item record
Clonal non-malignant hematological disorders are a heterogeneous group of diseases that are particularly challenging for hematologists. Indeed, most obvious and frequent hematological diseases include a broad spectrum of malignancies, such as leukemias, lymphomas, myeloma, and other myeloproliferative or lymphoproliferative disorders. In recent years, all these diseases have been categorized by the WHO according to a novel classification of myeloid and lymphoid malignancies, which takes in account the outstanding progress in our understanding of molecular defects underlying hematological malignancies. Regardless of a number of novel technologies, hematologists continue to deal daily with conditions where a clear diagnosis of a malignancy is missing: this is the case of several clonal hematological disorders, which are considered bona fide non-malignant. Some myelodysplastic syndromes, chronic T and NK disorders of granular lymphocytes, myelofibrosis, monoclonal gammopathies, monoclonal B-cel lymphocytosis, mastocytosis and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria are paradigmatic examples of how clonal disorders are clearly different from cancers, even if they may share with hematological malignancies similar molecular, genetic, epigenetic and immunological processes. Indeed, it is not entirely clear whether in individual conditions such pathogenic mechanisms may represent initial step(s) of malignant transformation, making a bridge between these clonal non-malignant disorders and typical hematological cancers. Some of these non-malignant disorders imply specific pathogenic mechanisms and/or clinical course, and so they have been definitely established with their own biological and clinical identity. However, the obvious question whether some of these clonal non-malignant hematological diseases form some a kind of disease-continuum with their corresponding malignant counterpart is still to be answered.