Robert A. Brodsky, MD
Robert A. Brodsky, MD, Professor of Medicine and Oncology and Director of the Division of Hematology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, included this late-breaking abstract among his picks of noteworthy abstracts at the meeting, in a press briefing with journalists.
“The researchers performed whole-genome sequencing to look for naturally occurring mutations in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms. It’s kind of like looking at tree rings: they could backdate to see when the mutations first occurred,” he said. “The amazing thing was what they found: many occur early in life, maybe even in utero, and the latency period can be 10 to 20 years before they clinically manifest.”
The findings suggest, he said, that genetic testing might someday be able to identify people at risk for these cancers much earlier than current methods allow. The discovery represents “untapped opportunities” to potentially intervene to prevent or slow the development of these cancers.
“Not only is this fascinating, but think how long a period we have in which to intervene. If we could slow down that process, we could change the natural history of these diagnoses. This is a tour de force piece of work,” Dr. Brodsky commented.
DISCLOSURE: Dr. Brodsky reported no conflicts of interest.
Genetic mutations linked to myeloproliferative neoplasms emerge in childhood or even in utero, decades before they cause cancer, according to a late-breaking abstract presented at the 2020 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition.1
“Our preliminary findings show these...