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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Hematology - Oncology - Pathology

A Highly Sensitive Quantitative Real-Time PCR Assay for Determination of Mutant JAK2 Exon 12 Allele Burden
Published: Monday, March 05, 2012
Author: Lasse Kjær et al.

by Lasse Kjær, Maj Westman, Caroline Hasselbalch Riley, Estrid Høgdall, Ole Weis Bjerrum, Hans Hasselbalch

Mutations in the Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) gene have become an important identifier for the Philadelphia-chromosome negative chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms. In contrast to the JAK2V617F mutation, the large number of JAK2 exon 12 mutations has challenged the development of quantitative assays. We present a highly sensitive real-time quantitative PCR assay for determination of the mutant allele burden of JAK2 exon 12 mutations. In combination with high resolution melting analysis and sequencing the assay identified six patients carrying previously described JAK2 exon 12 mutations and one novel mutation. Two patients were homozygous with a high mutant allele burden, whereas one of the heterozygous patients had a very low mutant allele burden. The allele burden in the peripheral blood resembled that of the bone marrow, except for the patient with low allele burden. Myeloid and lymphoid cell populations were isolated by cell sorting and quantitative PCR revealed similar mutant allele burdens in CD16+ granulocytes and peripheral blood. The mutations were also detected in B-lymphocytes in half of the patients at a low allele burden. In conclusion, our highly sensitive assay provides an important tool for quantitative monitoring of the mutant allele burden and accordingly also for determining the impact of treatment with interferon-a-2, shown to induce molecular remission in JAK2V617F-positive patients, which may be a future treatment option for JAK2 exon 12-positive patients as well.
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