Over the last decades, significant advances have been made in the knowledge and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The WHO has recognized this new information by incorporating into its classification morphologic, immunophenotypic, genetic, and clinical features in an attempt to define biologically and clinically relevant entities. Nevertheless, well-defined cytogenetic subgroups exhibit considerable heterogeneity, and in many AML subtypes the pathogenic event is still not known. A classification system based on the underlying molecular pathogenetic abnormalities would be ideal, but such detailed knowledge is not yet available. Novel approaches in genomics, such as surveying the expression levels of thousands of genes in parallel using DNA microarray technology, open possibilities to further refine the studies on AML. Today, gene expression profiling in AML is becoming well established and has already been proven to be valuable in diagnosing different cytogenetic subtypes, discovering novel AML subclasses, and predicting clinical outcome. Recently, gene expression profiling studies in AML showed a remarkable level of concordance in findings, which may ultimately lead to an increasingly refined molecular taxonomy. While many challenges remain to be overcome, a combination of gene expression profiling with other microarray-based applications, high-throughput mutational analyses and proteomic approaches will not only significantly contribute to the classification and therapeutic decision making of AML, but also give important insights into the true pathobiologic nature of this type of leukemia.