Ample evidence was provided these past decades that leukaemic stem cells (LSC) play a role in the outcome of adult and paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients. Although it is generally accepted that the CD34+/ CD38- compartment is most LSC-enriched, novel data have emerged illustrating a distinct biology between CD34+ and CD34- AML. In this review, we discuss the main LSC phenotypes in CD34+ and CD34- AML , as they are of utmost importance for the development of broadly applicable LSC-targeted strategies. The leukaemia-initiating capacity of these cells upon xenografting is still considered to be the gold standard for LSC detection. However, more feasible techniques have been researched to allow the implementation of LSC measurements into clinical practice. Here, we summarise the current state-of-the-art methodologies using flow cytometry and molecular detection, and emphasise their relevance in terms of prognosis and targeted drug therapy.

(BELG J HEMATOL 2020;11(6):246-52)