June 13, 2011
Decoding Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
A paper published online on June 13 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (www.jem.org) identifies new gene mutations in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)"”a disease often associated with lack of response to chemotherapy and poor overall survival.
CLL is the most common leukemia in the Western world, but the disease varies greatly from patient to patient with regard to prognosis, survival, and disease course. In attempt to understand the genetic basis for this heterogeneity, a group led by Riccardo Dalla-Favera at Columbia University and Gianluca Gaidano at Amedeo Avogadro University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara, Italy surveyed the landscape of mutations in the genes of CLL patients. They found several mutations not previously linked with CLL, but most patients had relatively few genetic mutations compared to some other types of cancer.
These findings point to the NOTCH1 pathway as potentially useful for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in human CLL.
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