NCCN Task Force Report: Molecular Markers in Leukemias and Lymphomas

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The introduction of targeted therapies has revolutionized treatment and improved outcomes in patients with leukemias and lymphomas. However, many patients experience relapse caused by the persistence of residual malignant cells. Cytogenetic and molecular techniques are increasingly being used to assess and quantify minimal residual disease (MRD). The emergence of advanced technologies has led to the discovery of multiple novel molecular markers that can be used to detect MRD and predict outcome in patients with leukemias and lymphomas. Gene expression signatures that predict clinical outcomes in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have been identified. In chronic myelogenous leukemia, molecular monitoring has become more important in assessing response and detecting resistance to therapy. In acute leukemias, several new markers have shown potential in prognostication and monitoring treatment. In leukemias and lymphomas, microRNAs have been identified that may be useful in diagnostics and prognostication. To address these issues, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) organized a task force consisting of a panel of experts in leukemia and lymphoma to discuss recent advances in the field of molecular markers and monitoring MRD.

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