The applicability of the WHO classification in paediatric AML. A NOPHO-AML study

Julie D. Sandahl, Eigil Kjeldsen, Jonas Abrahamsson, Shau-Yin Ha, Jesper Heldrup, Kirsi Jahnukainen, Olafur G. Jonsson, Birgitte Lausen, Josefine Palle, Bernward Zeller, Erik Forestier, Henrik Hasle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The World Health Organization (WHO) classification of myeloid leukaemia was revised in 2008. It incorporates newly recognized entities and emphasizes the pivotal role of cytogenetic abnormalities. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usability of the WHO classification when applied to a large population-based paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) cohort. We included children diagnosed with de novo AML, 0-18years of age from the Nordic countries and Hong Kong from 1993 to 2012. Data were retrieved from the Nordic Society for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology AML database and patients classified according to the WHO 2008 classification. A successful karyotype was available in 97% of the cases. AML with recurrent genetic abnormalities were present in 262 (41%) and 94 (15%) were classified as AML with myelodysplasia-related changes (AML-MDS). WHO classifies patients with monosomy 7 and del(7q) into one group. We found that -7 (n=14) had significantly poorer outcome than del(7q) (n=11); 5-year event-free survival 26% vs. 67%, (P=002), and 5-year overall survival 51% vs. 90%, (P=004). The largest group was the highly heterogeneous AML not otherwise specified (NOS) (n=280) (44%). In conclusion, the WHO classification allocated 15% to AML-MDS, 44% to NOS and grouped together entities with clearly different outcome, therefore limiting the applicability of the current WHO classification in children with AML.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-867
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Hematology

Free keywords

  • paediatrics
  • acute myeloid leukaemia
  • World Health Organization
  • classification
  • leukaemia


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