The 2016 revision to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia

Daniel A. Arber, Attilio Orazi, Robert Hasserjian, Jürgen Thiele, Michael J. Borowitz, Michelle M. Le Beau, Clara D. Bloomfield, Mario Cazzola and James W. Vardiman
This article has an Erratum 128(3):462


The World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumours of the Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues was last updated in 2008. Since then there have been numerous advances in the identification of unique biomarkers associated with some myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemias – largely derived from gene expression analysis and next generation sequencing (NGS) that can significantly improve the diagnostic criteria as well as the prognostic relevance of entities currently included in the WHO classification and that also suggest new entities that should be added. Therefore, there is a clear need for a revision to the current classification. The revisions to the categories of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia will be published in a monograph in 2016 and reflect a consensus of opinion of hematopathologists, hematologists, oncologists and geneticists. The 2016 edition represents a revision of the prior classification rather than an entirely new classification and attempts to incorporate new clinical, prognostic, morphologic, immunophenotypic, and genetic data that has have emerged since the last edition. The major changes in the classification and their rationale are presented here.

  • Submitted March 17, 2016.
  • Accepted April 6, 2016.