Genetics play an increasingly important role in the risk stratification and management of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. Traditionally, AML classification and risk stratification relied on cytogenetic studies; however, molecular detection of gene mutations is playing an increasingly important role in classification, risk stratification, and management of AML. Molecular testing does not take the place of cytogenetic testing results, but plays a complementary role to help refine prognosis, especially within specific AML subgroups. With the exception of acute promyelocytic leukemia, AML therapy is not targeted but the intensity of therapy is driven by the prognostic subgroup. Many prognostic scoring systems classify patients into favorable, poor, or intermediate prognostic subgroups based on clinical and genetic features. Current standard of care combines cytogenetic results with targeted testing for mutations in FLT3
, and KIT
to determine the prognostic subgroup. Other gene mutations have also been demonstrated to predict prognosis and may play a role in future risk stratification, although some of these have not been confirmed in multiple studies or established as standard of care. This paper will review the contribution of cytogenetic results to prognosis in AML and then will focus on molecular mutations that have a prognostic or possible therapeutic impact.
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