The fourth edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of myeloid neoplasms refined the criteria for some previously described myeloid neoplasms and recognized several new entities based on recent elucidation of molecular pathogenesis, identification of new diagnostic and prognostic markers, and progress in clinical management. Protein tyrosine kinase abnormalities, including translocations or mutations involving ABL1, JAK2, MPL, KIT, PDGFRA, PDGFRB, and FGFR1, have been used as the basis for classifying myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Two new entities - refractory cytopenia with unilineage dysplasia and refractory cytopenia of childhood have been added to the group of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and 'refractory anemia with excess blasts-1' has been redefined to emphasize the prognostic significance of increased blasts in the peripheral blood. A list of cytogenetic abnormalities has been introduced as presumptive evidence of MDS in cases with refractory cytopenia but without morphologic evidence of dysplasia. The subgroup 'acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with recurrent genetic abnormalities' has been expanded to include more molecular genetic aberrations. The entity 'AML with multilineage dysplasia' specified in the 2001 WHO classification has been renamed 'AML with myelodysplasia-related changes' to include not only cases with significant multilineage dysplasia but also patients with a history of MDS or myelodysplasia-related cytogenetic abnormalities. The term 'therapy-related myeloid neoplasms' is used to cover the spectrum of disorders previously known as t-AML, t-MDS, or t-MDS/MPN occurring as complications of cytotoxic chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. In this review, we summarize many of these important changes and discuss some of the diagnostic challenges that remain.