World Health Organisation WHO classification of acute myeloid leukaemia

Although the FAB classification has provided a morphological classification of AML for almost 30 years the correlation between morphology and both genetic and clinical features is imperfect. The WHO classification attempts to correlate morphological, genetic and clinical features to categorise cases of AML into unique clinical and biological subgroups.

In the WHO classification the blast threshold for the diagnosis of AML is reduced from 30% to 20% BM blasts (i.e. most patients previously diag nosed as RAEB-t will be classified as AML with multilineage dysplasia) and patients with clonal recurring abnormalities t(8;21)(q22;q22), inv(16)(q13q22), t(16;16)(p13;q22) or t(15;17)(q22;q12) should be considered to have AML regardless of the blast percentage.

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