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J Mol Diagn. 2013 Sep;15(5):592-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2013.04.006. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

A multiplexed fragment analysis-based assay for detection of JAK2 exon 12 mutations.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


Mutations within exon 12 of the JAK2 gene occur in most cases of JAK2 V617F-mutation negative polycythemia vera. Several methods have been developed to identify exon 12 mutations, with both Sanger sequencing and high resolution melting (HRM) being widely used. However, mutations can occur at allelic levels lower than 15%, which may hamper detection by these methods. We developed a novel fragment analysis-based assay capable of detecting nearly all JAK2 exon 12 mutations associated with polycythemia vera down to a sensitivity of 2% mutant allele. Test results were reviewed from a set of 20 reference cases and 1731 consecutive specimens that were referred to our laboratory for testing. Assay performance was compared to sequencing and HRM across a series of 27 specimens with JAK2 exon 12 mutations. Positive cases consisted of 22 with deletion mutations, four with duplications, and one with K539L. Nine cases had mutation levels between 6% and 15% that may not be reliably detected by sequencing or HRM. All cases were easily interpreted in the fragment analysis assay. Sequencing, HRM, and fragment analysis each represent viable platforms for detection of JAK2 exon 12 mutations. Our method performed favorably by providing a simple, robust, and highly sensitive solution for JAK2 exon 12 mutation testing.

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