Curtis Hanson, M.D., discusses the importance of detecting immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable (IGHV) gene mutation when acquiring prognostic and potentially therapeutic information in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients in CAP TODAY. Dr. Hanson serves as Vice Chair of Extramural Laboratory Affairs within the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (DLMP) and the Chief Medical Officer of Mayo Clinic Laboratories.
According to Dr. Hanson, although the overall survival rate for CLL is good, researchers have long sought a way to identify those who will develop a more aggressive form of the disease so that providers can begin the appropriate therapy.
Previously, researchers developed a large number of prognostic markers to help assess risk. Then, over the last few years, new therapies for progressive disease in CLL have been expanding. This has led to improvements in overall survival, even for the highest-risk patients.
"The development of prognostic markers has been one of the two biggest improvements in CLL," says Dr. Hanson. "Unmutated IGHV gene is a molecular marker associated with poorer prognosis and shorter survival (mean OS = 95 months [about 8 years]). Forty to 50 percent of patients will have the unmutated IGHV gene. The remainder are mutated; the prognosis is good and the mean overall survival is 293 months [about 24.5 years]."
Read more in CAP TODAY.