Plasma cell leukemia: A review of the molecular classification, diagnosis, and evidenced-based treatment

Leuk Res. 2021 Dec:111:106687. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2021.106687. Epub 2021 Aug 17.


Plasma cell leukemia is a rare and aggressive plasma cell dyscrasia associated with dismal outcomes. It may arise de novo, primary plasma cell leukemia, or evolve from an antecedent diagnosis of multiple myeloma, secondary plasma cell leukemia. Despite highly effective therapeutics, survival for plasma cell leukemia patients remains poor. Molecular knowledge of plasma cell leukemia has recently expanded with use of gene expression profiling and whole exome sequencing, lending new insights into prognosis and therapeutic development. In this review, we describe the molecular knowledge, clinical characteristics, evidenced-based therapeutic approaches and treatment outcomes of plasma cell leukemia.

Keywords: Circulating plasma cells; Clinical trials; Genomics; Multiple myeloma; Plasma cell dyscrasia; Plasma cell leukemia; Primary plasma cell leukemia; Secondary plasma cell leukemia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Plasma Cell / classification
  • Leukemia, Plasma Cell / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Plasma Cell / therapy*