Criteria for an Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Diagnosis

In accordance with the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) classification, a diagnosis of AML is made based on any of the 3 criteria outlined in the chart1:

2016 WHO AML Classification


A diagnosis is based on a combination of a history/physical, laboratory evaluations, bone marrow analysis with cytogenetics, and a comprehensive evaluation of several molecular markers.2

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact onset of AML—individuals have different symptomatic thresholds for choosing to get medical attention. It is likely that most patients have had some evidence of leukemia for weeks, or perhaps months, before diagnosis.3

For more information see the Initial Diagnostic Workup of AML.

References: 1. Arber DA, Orazi A, Hasserjian R, et al. The 2016 revision to the World Health Organization classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia. Blood. 2016;127(20):2391-2405. 2. Referenced with permission from the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Acute Myeloid Leukemia V.1.2019. © National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2019. All rights reserved. Accessed January 29, 2019. To view the most recent and complete version of the guideline, go online to NCCN.org. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever regarding their content, use or application and disclaims any responsibility for their application or use in any way. 3. Schiffer CA, Stone RM. Presenting signs and symptoms. In: Kufe DW, Pollock RE, Weichselbaum RR, et al, eds. Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine. 6th ed. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker; 2003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK14008/. Accessed January 22, 2019.