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A CML Patient Weighs in on an "Area of Confusion"

A CML Patient Weighs in on an "Area of Confusion"

I'd like to suggest a topic for discussion that is causing a lot of confusion among oncologists and their patients: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing, and specifically, how the results are reported and interpreted. This may sound like a mundane issue, but oncologists are being confused by changes in PCR test reporting, which is leading them to inadvertently giving their patients negatively skewed prognoses. I have seen this many times on the L&LS Discussion Board "Living with CML Leukemia". 

PCR testing has been used for years to determine remission status (or lack of) in leukemia patients. Labs around the world have used different equipment and standards, so PCR results have not been considered comparable between labs. In the past few years there has been a move to standardize PCR reporting for CML leukemia based on an "International Standard" for log reductions.

As this changeover is in the middle of implementation, it is causing confusion since there are many oncologists who do not understand the changeover. So, many patients are also being confused, and even told they are losing remission status, when it is simply the new reporting that has changed the numbers.

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