Advances in acute myeloid leukemia

BMJ. 2021 Oct 6:375:n2026. doi: 10.1136/bmj.n2026.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an uncommon but potentially catastrophic diagnosis with historically high mortality rates. The standard of care treatment remained unchanged for decades; however, recent discoveries of molecular drivers of leukemogenesis and disease progression have led to novel therapies for AML. Ongoing research and clinical trials are actively seeking to personalize therapy by identifying molecular targets, discovering patient specific and disease specific risk factors, and identifying effective combinations of modalities and drugs. This review focuses on important updates in diagnostic and disease classifications that reflect new understanding of the biology of AML, its mutational heterogeneity, some important genetic and environmental risk factors, and new treatment options including cytotoxic chemotherapy, novel targeted agents, and cellular therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / classification
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / therapy*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods


  • Antineoplastic Agents