Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous hematologic malignancy characterized by the proliferation and aberrant differentiation of immature clonal myeloid cells. The prognosis of AML is variable, based on clinical features such as patient age, performance status, and comorbidities, as well as leukemia-specific genetic features including cytogenetics and molecular classification. The modern application of next-generation sequencing technology has uncovered marked heterogeneity and genomic complexity within AML, based on the presence or absence of cooperating mutations within functional categories such as epigenetic regulators, cell signaling and proliferation pathways, and master hematopoietic transcription factors. Although the treatment of AML has hitherto changed little in the past 40 years, the enhanced scientific understanding of AML pathophysiology and leukemogenesis has led to the recent development of multiple targeted and selective treatment approaches, and our increasing awareness of functional AML subsets will be evermore used to inform rational and personalized treatment strategies.
© 2016 by The American Society of Hematology. All rights reserved.