Chromosome changes in CLL


Del (13q)

This is a positive cytogenetic (chromosome) change. People with only this change often have a type of CLL that develops very slowly and doesn’t need any treatment for many years. Between 3 and 5 in every 10 people with CLL will have the del (13q) abnormality.

Del (17p)

This change makes the leukaemia more difficult to control. Less than 1 in 10 people with CLL has the del (17p) change. If del (17p) is found, a FISH test may be done to see if a gene called TP53 is missing. This abnormality is associated with a poorer prognosis
(outlook), but there are treatments for this type of CLL. Missing parts of chromosome 11 (del 11 q) is also associated with a poorer prognosis. 

Other changes

Between 4 and 6 out of every 10 people with CLL will have other cytogenetic changes in their CLL cells (for example, Trisomy 12), or none at all. The leukaemia often needs treatment, but usually not immediately. It can usually be controlled for a number of years with treatment.

IgVH gene mutations

Knowing if the IgVH gene is mutated can help to predict how your CLL will behave. B-cell CLL with mutated IgVH is typically less aggressive (progresses more slowly) than B-cell CLL with unmutated IgVH.

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