Current Oncology Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 323-332

Advances in the molecular genetics of acute leukemia

  • Joseph M. ScanduraAffiliated withMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

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Acute leukemias are characterized by the unrestrained clonal proliferation of hematopoietic precursor cells coupled with aberrant or arrested differentiation. The molecular basis of hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis is still being defined, yet it is increasingly evident that acute leukemias have recurrent molecular features that can be exploited for diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic purposes. Modern molecular technologies already influence treatment strategies for these diseases, and it is likely that as such technology matures it will have an increasing impact on all aspects of acute leukemia management. This article reviews recent developments in the molecular classification, prognostication, and treatment of the acute leukemias.