The new edition of the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) classification system for tumors of the hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues was published in September 2017. Under the category of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), the revised document includes seven subcategories: chronic myeloid leukemia, chronic neutrophilic leukemia, polycythemia vera (PV), primary myelofibrosis (PMF), essential thrombocythemia (ET), chronic eosinophilic leukemia-not otherwise specified and MPN, unclassifiable (MPN-U); of note, mastocytosis is no longer classified under the MPN category. In the current review, we focus on the diagnostic criteria for JAK2/CALR/MPL mutation-related MPNs: PV, ET, and PMF. In this regard, the 2016 changes were aimed at facilitating the distinction between masked PV and JAK2-mutated ET and between prefibrotic/early and overtly fibrotic PMF. In the current communication, we (i) provide practically useful resource tables and graphs on the new diagnostic criteria including outcome, (ii) elaborate on the rationale for the 2016 changes, (iii) discuss the complementary role of mutation screening, (iv) address ongoing controversies and propose solutions, (v) attend to the challenges of applying WHO criteria in routine clinical practice, and (vi) outline future directions from the perspectives of the clinical pathologist.
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