The World Health Organization classification of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is hierarchically structured and integrates genetics, data on patients' history, and multilineage dysplasia (MLD). The category "AML with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)-related changes" (AML-MRC) is separated from "AML not otherwise specified" (AML-NOS) by presence of MLD, MDS-related cytogenetics, or history of MDS or MDS/myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). We analyzed 408 adult patients categorized as AML-MRC or AML-NOS. Three-year event-free survival (EFS; median, 13.8 vs 16.0 months) and 3-year overall survival (OS; 45.8% vs 53.9%) did not differ significantly between patients with MLD versus without. However, MLD correlated with preexisting MDS (P < .001) and MDS-related cytogenetics (P = .035). Patients with MLD as sole AML-MRC criterion (AML-MLD-sole; n = 90) had less frequently FLT3 internal tandem duplication (P = .032) and lower median age than AML-NOS (n = 232). Contrarily, patients with AML-NOS combined with AML-MLD-sole (n = 323) had better 3-year EFS (16.9 vs 10.7 months; P = .005) and 3-year OS (55.8% vs 32.5%; P = .001) than patients with history of MDS or MDS/MPN or MDS-related cytogenetics (n = 85). Gene expression analysis showed distinct clusters for AML-MLD-sole combined with AML-NOS versus AML with MDS-related cytogenetics or MDS history. Thus, MLD alone showed no independent clinical effect, whereas cytogenetics and MDS history were prognostically relevant.