T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL) and lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) represent malignancies that arise from the transformation of immature precursor T cells. Similarities in T-LBL and T-ALL have raised the question whether these entities represent 1 disease or reflect 2 different diseases. The genetic profiles of T-ALL have been thoroughly investigated over the last 2 decades, whereas fairly little is known about genetic driver mutations in T-LBL. Nevertheless, the comparison of clinical, immunophenotypic, and molecular observations from independent T-LBL and T-ALL studies lent strength to the theory that T-LBL and T-ALL reflect different presentations of the same disease. Alternatively, T-LBL and T-ALL may simultaneously evolve from a common malignant precursor cell, each having their own specific pathogenic requirements or cellular dependencies that differ among stroma-embedded blasts in lymphoid tissues compared with solitary leukemia cells. This review aims to cluster recent findings with regard to clinical presentation, genetic predisposition, and the acquisition of additional mutations that may give rise to differences in gene expression signatures among T-LBL and T-ALL patients. Improved insight in T-LBL in relation to T-ALL may further help to apply confirmed T-ALL therapies to T-LBL patients.
- Lymphoma, T-Cell
- Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
- Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma/genetics