Translocations involving the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) gene, localized at 11q23, comprise 15 to 20% of all pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cases. This review summarizes current knowledge about the etiology, biology, clinical characteristics and differences in outcome in MLL-rearranged pediatric AML. Furthermore, we discuss the role of cooperating events in MLL-rearranged pediatric AML, and future therapeutic strategies to improve outcome. We conclude that MLL-rearranged pediatric AML is a heterogeneous disease, and prognosis depends on various factors, for example, translocation partner, age, WBC and additional cytogenetic aberrations. The relationship of outcome with specific translocation partners requires that they be searched for in the diagnostic work-up of AML. To achieve further improvements in outcome, unraveling the biology of MLL-rearranged pediatric AML is warranted.

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Keywords MLL, heterogeneity, pediatric AML
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Journal Leukemia
Balgobind, B.V, Zwaan, C.M, Pieters, R, & van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M.M. (2011). The heterogeneity of pediatric MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia. Leukemia, 25(8), 1239–1248. doi:10.1038/leu.2011.90