Pathology > Basic Hematology > White Cell Disorders > Acute Leukemia

Leukemia: Acute Leukemia

Acute leukemia is characterized by proliferation of immature cells or blasts in the bone marrow, and commonly involves the peripheral blood and other organs.

The acute leukemias can be classified using the French, American, and British (FAB)* Classification (1975;1985 revision) in which acute nonlymphoid leukemias are subdivided into 7 types, and lymphoid leukemias are subdivided into 3 types. This classification system is very helpful for the student first learning about the acute leukemias.

The current standard for classifying the acute leukemias is the World Health Organization (WHO) classification system. The WHO system takes into account morphology, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, and immunologic markers to create a classification system that is uuniversally applicable and prognostically significant.

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