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Alert Number 135

MCL - a Wolf in CLL Clothing

Date: November 9, 2005

FISH analysis is one of the key prognostic tests used to identify the type of CLL a patient has. However, the usual FISH panels contain probes for only the most common cytogenetic abnormalities. Rarer aberrations all get lumped together in a basket labeled "normal". In a new article published today on Topics, MCL – a Wolf in CLL Clothing, we examine how a probe for one such rare aberration, the t(11:14) translocation, can help distinguish CLL from the more aggressive Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Treatment choices can be quite different for MCL patients, and it really helps to get a rock solid diagnosis right up front.

Having this additional probe included in your FISH test may well depend upon your negotiating skills. Few local oncologists worry about it, and the standard testing packages from Quest do not include it. What is a confused patient to do? We try to give you some pointers on how to proceed, especially if your “CLL” seems to behave differently from everyone else's. This article was prompted by a real life patient story, and it reminded me one more time why we started CLL Topics in the first place.

Be well,


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