What Does It Mean to Be JAK or CALR Positive?

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From our Ask the Expert series, Dr. Jamile Shammo, with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, answers a question from Jane, “What does it mean if you are JAK+ or CALR+, and how does it affect my treatment or prognosis?” Dr. Shammo compares and contrasts these two mutations, offering insight based on clinical studies and registry data.

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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.     

Andrew Schorr:

Hello and welcome to Patient Power.  I'm Andrew Schorr.  We're here with our Ask the Expert series for MPNs, and I'm with Dr. Jamile Shammo who is with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.  Welcome.  Thank you for being with us. 

Dr. Shammo:

Thank you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Here's a question we got from Jane from Tiburon, California.  Jane writes, “I'm trying to understand what it means if you are JAK positive or CALR positive.  What do these mean, and how does it affect my treatment or prognosis?”

Dr. Shammo:

That's a very good question.  Actually, after the identification of the CALR mutation, people looked specifically at that.  Is there any difference in the behavior of patients on JAK2 versus CALR, and it's been shown actually that people who have JAK2 may have slightly higher hemoglobin counts, maybe higher white count, maybe higher thrombotic events.  CALR patients tend to do better.  In fact, when they compared people who have no positivity for anything in essence, now called triple?negative, to borrow from the breast cancer group, they tend to do the worst. 

So CALR patients do the best in again retrospective clinical studies or registry data.  So if you have CALR, you can predict that it would be sort of a more indolent disease.  But again, you know, I have to qualify that.  Because each patient is different, you know.  So, yes, the CALR mutation may portend for a better prognosis, but again we're guided by counts, symptoms, organomegaly, hepatosplenomegaly, so again that has to be put in context of the patient.  

Andrew Schorr:

Would treatment be different?  

Dr. Shammo: 

Not necessarily.

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 November 24, 2015