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Genetic Markers in Lymphoma

More is known about lymphoma today than ever before. Where it was once thought lymphoma comprised only a few diseases, there are now more than 80 known subtypes, with potential for more to be recognised in the future. This deeper understanding of the many types of lymphomas has largely come from better scientific knowledge of genes and gene mutations and the role they play in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of lymphomas.

Genes and their associated mutations are used to diagnose lymphoma and can also be prognostic about how the type of lymphoma will progress and/or predictive as to how the lymphoma will respond to available treatments. The presence or absence of certain mutations can help guide the type of treatment a patient receives and predict how likely the lymphoma is to respond to certain treatments. This science of identifying disease through DNA, genes and mutations may be referred to as molecular profiling, genetic markers, genetic profiling, or driver gene-based classification.

Better understanding of gene mutations is also an important part of the development of targeted cancer treatments (also known as precision medicine). The goal of personalised medicine is to select the most effective treatment for an individual patient’s cancer. As more is learned about the biology of the different lymphomas, and as more selective treatments are developed, it is necessary to both identify the genetic differences as well as make the tools to measure them routinely available.

Since many new targeted therapies are costly, it is important they are given to patients who have a high likelihood of benefiting.

Read the report Genetic Markers in Lymphomas: A review of the current role of genetic markers in six lymphoma subtypes (2019)