Recent studies using massively parallel sequencing technologies, so-called next-generation sequencing, have uncovered numerous recurrent, single-gene variants or mutations across the spectrum of myeloid malignancies.
To review the recent advances in the understanding of the molecular basis of myeloid neoplasms, including their significance for diagnostic and prognostic purposes and the possible implications for the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
The recurrent mutations found in myeloid malignancies fall into distinct functional categories. These include (1) cell signaling factors, (2) transcription factors, (3) regulators of the cell cycle, (4) regulators of DNA methylation, (5) regulators of histone modification, (6) RNA-splicing factors, and (7) components of the cohesin complex. As the clinical significance of these mutations and mutation combinations is established, testing for their presence is likely to become a routine part of the diagnostic workup. This review will attempt to establish a framework for understanding these mutations in the context of myeloproliferative neoplasms, myelodysplastic syndromes, and acute myeloid leukemia.