Genetic Testing for CLL: What Types Are Recommended Before Starting Treatment?

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Topics include: Treatment and Understanding

Genetic testing is often used to help assess disease risk and guide treatment decision making for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. What tests are typically recommended prior to treatment? CLL experts Dr. Jackie Broadway-Duren and Dr. Alessandra Ferrajoli, from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discuss what prognostic factors go into to forming a treatment plan, testing available through peripheral blood and the bone marrow and how each unique CLL condition’s “report card” is determined. Watch now to learn more about current approaches to evaluate risk and find suitable therapies.

Provided by CLL Global Research Foundation, which received support from AbbVie Inc., Gilead Sciences, Inc., Pharmacyclics LLC and TG Therapeutics. It is produced by Patient Power in collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jeff Folloder:

So, what types of testing—are there genetic tests, to find out if that person is likely to need treatment, unlikely to need treatment—what types of genetic testing do CLL specialists bring to bear?

Dr. Ferrajoli:               

So, what you do is, when you meet a CLL person for the first time, I actually call it a report card. So, you run a number of tests, that give you a flavor of what type of disease you have in front of you. 

Jeff Folloder:               

And, what are those tests?

Dr. Ferrajoli:               

So, some of these tests include—chromosomal abnormalities, the so-called FISH panel, and now, we have also a large array of molecular testing that we can do. And, of course, that includes also the mutational status, so your hemoglobin, you’re never changing. However, you have to put it with the clinical picture, and the clinical picture is the symptoms, the physical exam, and what happens to the blood counts. So, you really need a composite number of elements, to decide when to start therapy, in whom to start therapy, but doing these report cards, doing these number of testing at presentation helps you, and helps the patient, because you tell well, I see some red flags, I’m gonna, you’re gonna be one of the people that I’m gonna monitor really closely. Or, wow, everything looks really good and promising, I think we can take a bit of a more relaxed approach toward your disease.

Because everything that I see puts you in this specific group of people. But, nothing is 100 percent. Not even the deletion 17P. 

Jeff Folloder:               

Dr. Jackie, how do we get this information? Is this a little blood test, little give up a sample and you’re good? And, you can get all the information that you need.

Dr. Broadway-Duren:

Much of it can be done through peripheral blood. However, if the patient’s having a bone marrow, then we use—get the information from the bone marrow sample. And the samples are sent to the cytometry lab, they’re sent to the molecular lab, where there are already pre-set panels for CLL. And, as soon as those results are made available, then we try to, as she said, sit down and put all the pieces of the puzzle together for the patient. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on October 24, 2018