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Mol Diagn Ther. 2008;12(5):271-80.

Clinical application of array-based comparative genomic hybridization for the identification of prognostically important genetic alterations in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Department of Pathology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA.


Genomic aberrations have increasingly gained attention as prognostic markers in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) has improved the detection rate of genomic alterations in CLL from approximately 50% using conventional cytogenetics to greater than 80%. More recently, array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) has gained popularity as a clinical tool that can be applied to detect genomic gains and losses of prognostic importance in CLL. Array CGH and FISH are particularly useful in CLL because genomic gains and losses are key events with both biologic and prognostic significance, while balanced translocations have limited prognostic value. Although FISH has a higher technical sensitivity, it requires separate, targeted hybridizations for the detection of alterations at genomic loci of interest. Array CGH, on the other hand, has the ability to provide a genome-wide survey of genomic aberrations with a single hybridization reaction. Array CGH is expanding the known genomic regions of importance in CLL and allows these regions to be evaluated in the context of a genome-wide perspective. Ongoing clinical trials are evaluating the use of genomic aberrations as tools for risk-stratifying patients for therapy, thus increasing the need for reliable and high-yield methods to detect these genomic changes. In this review, we consider the use of array CGH as a clinical tool for the identification of genomic alterations with prognostic significance in CLL, and suggest ways to integrate this test into the clinical molecular diagnostic laboratory work flow.

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