Talk to your doctor about
ROUTINE BCR-ABL TESTING
How can routine testing benefit my Ph+ CML treatment?
A main goal of treating Philadelphia chromosome–positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML) is to reduce the number of leukemia cells in your body. Doctors use medicine to lower the amount of leukemia in your blood. Special tests, such as polymerase chain reaction (or PCR for short), can check how the medicine is working by measuring the level of leukemia cells in your body. Regular testing is important to your Ph+ CML treatment plan.
Research has found a link between regular testing and a lower risk of patients leukemia getting worse, known as disease progression. In a study of 402 Ph+ CML patients in the chronic phase, the risk of disease progression was about 7 times lower in patients tested 3 to 4 times per year versus patients that did not undergo testing at all (2.2% vs 15.1%, respectively, P=.002).
Monitoring 3 to 4 times per year, as recommended by national guidelines, provides results that let you and your doctor know if your treatment is working for you or if changes to your treatment are needed.
National guidelines recommend getting tested every 3 months until your BCR-ABL levels are down to 1%. After reaching 1%, guidelines recommend that patients continue getting tested every 3 months for 2 years and then every 3 to 6 months afterward.
How can I track the progress of my treatment?
The best way to work toward treatment goals with your doctor is to know if your medicine is working.
There is an easy blood test that can measure if your treatment is working for you. This blood test is often called a PCR test. It is also called a BCR-ABL test.
The test checks for the amount of BCR-ABL in your blood. BCR-ABL is a gene that causes leukemia cells to grow out of control and crowd out healthy cells.
How do PCR tests work?
PCR testing is an accurate way for doctors to measure how much BCR-ABL is in your body. PCR blood testing can find very small amounts of BCR-ABL that other tests cannot find. PCR is a simple blood test, so it is less painful than bone marrow testing for many patients.
A special type of PCR test is based on the International Scale. This type of PCR test is a reliable way to measure if you are meeting important treatment goals, such as early molecular response (or EMR) and major molecular response (or MMR).
To make sure your test is done the same way each time and that you are meeting these important treatment goals, ask if your doctor is using a lab that does your PCR test based on the International Scale.
Your test results will help your doctor determine if your treatment is working as expected.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU
ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FREE TESTING