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Experts call for standardized acute myeloid leukemia classification systems

August 18, 2023

A consensus statement published in Lancet Haematology stresses the importance of consistent acute myeloid leukemia (AML) classification systems. The opinion piece was authored by leading international experts in the field of hematology, including Tara Lin, MD, professor in the Department of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapeutics at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Diagnosing AML is based on different criteria under two classification systems, managed by the World Health Organization and International Consensus Classification. This may cause confusion and inconsistency in clinical practice, research and drug development. According to Dr. Lin, these differences can make it more difficult to treat and manage the disease. 

In the statement, the authors examine both systems' strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways to reconcile them. To resolve these differences between classification systems, they propose the following changes:

  • Assemble and analyze large datasets to come to a consensus on treatment and management guidelines
  • A commitment from both organizations to create a unified system
  • Involve patient advocates and hematopathology societies
  • Meet frequently to allow for quicker incorporation of the latest data
  • Stagger term limits to allow for new perspectives

“For the benefit of our patients, we urge a quick and clear solution to unify the two ways of classifying acute myeloid leukemia,” Dr. Lin said.

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