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The 2008 revision of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia: rationale and important changes

James W. Vardiman, Jüergen Thiele, Daniel A. Arber, Richard D. Brunning, Michael J. Borowitz, Anna Porwit, Nancy Lee Harris, Michelle M. Le Beau, Eva Hellström-Lindberg, Ayalew Tefferi, Clara D. Bloomfield

Abstract

Recently the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the European Association for Haematopathology and the Society for Hematopathology, published a revised and updated edition of the WHO Classification of Tumors of the Hematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues. The 4th edition of the WHO classification incorporates new information that has emerged from scientific and clinical studies in the interval since the publication of the 3rd edition in 2001, and includes new criteria for the recognition of some previously described neoplasms as well as clarification and refinement of the defining criteria for others. It also adds entities—some defined principally by genetic features—that have only recently been characterized. In this paper, the classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia is highlighted with the aim of familiarizing hematologists, clinical scientists, and hematopathologists not only with the major changes in the classification but also with the rationale for those changes.

  • Submitted March 5, 2009.
  • Accepted April 1, 2009.
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