Who Classification

The WHO classification melds morphologic, immunophe-notypic, genetic, and clinical characteristics to form a coherent and current classification separating Hodgkin's disease from the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and differentiating B-cell neoplasms from those of T- and NK (natural killer)-cell origin (Table 10.2). Precursor B- and precursor T-cell leukemias encompass the multiple subsets of ALLs, considered in more detail in the subsequent chapters.59 An obvious short coming of the WHO system is that its classification does not speak to individual subsets, which may and should require individualization of treatment. Ongoing studies detailing the diagnostic groups above, and studies in animal models such as the zebra fish, will likely supplant current classification systems by defining causative signaling pathways and subsets of disease. These will enhance current prospects for genome-based targeted therapy, such as with the addition of imatinib mesylate to the treatment of bcr/abl-pos-itive ALL, and will lead to more targeted and effective therapy for individual disease subsets in the future.

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