Molecular testing for CML can be directed at the chimeric gene (e.g., genomic PCR, Southern blot), the fusion mRNA transcript (e.g., RT-PCR, northern blot), or the oncoprotein (e.g., Western blot). Given the widely dispersed intronic breakpoints in CML, genomic DNA is not amenable to routine PCR analysis; furthermore, Southern and northern analyses require relatively large amounts of high-molecular-weight DNA or RNA, typically entail the use of radioactivity, and are labor-intensive and have extended turnaround times. Protein-based analysis lacks sensitivity, a feature that ultimately limits its utility. RT-PCR is, therefore, the preferred testing method for evaluation and may be either qualitative or quantitative.
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