Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Single Test May Spot Blood Cancers

Genetic Mutation Linked to a Range of Blood Disorders

WebMD Health News

March 17, 2005 -- A single test may soon be able to detect a group of blood cancers, known as myeloproliferative disorders, according to new research.

The study showed that the same genetic mutation was present in more than 50% of people with one of the three main types of myeloproliferative disorders. These blood cancers cause an overproduction of red blood cells and platelets, which form blot clots. The main complications from these are blood clots, hemorrhage (abnormal bleeding), or bone marrow scarring and the development of leukemia.

Researchers say the lack of a definitive diagnostic test for myeloproliferative disorders can make managing the conditions difficult, as they are often misdiagnosed as a normal reaction in the blood to increase cells.

New Test for Blood Disorders May Be on the Way

In the study, which appears in the March 19 issue of The Lancet, researchers analyzed the gene JAK2, a growth factor linked to many blood cancers. Researchers looked for the gene in 140 people with one of the three major types of myeloproliferative disorders, including polycythaemia vera,polycythaemia vera,essential thrombocythaemia,essential thrombocythaemia, and idiopathic myelofibrosis.idiopathic myelofibrosis.

Researchers took DNA samples from the patients as well as a comparison group of people without the blood disorders.

A single mutation was found in the JAK2 gene in 97% of the 73 people with polycythaemia vera, 57% of the 51 with essential thrombocythaemia, and 50% of the 16 with idiopathic myelofibrosis.

This mutation was not found in any people in the comparison group.

"We have shown that a single acquired point mutation in JAK2 is present in virtually all patients with polycythaemia vera and in about half of those with either essential thrombocythaemia or idiopathic myelofibrosis," says researcher Tony Green of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research in the U.K., in a news release.

By having a single genetic mutation to look for, researchers say it may be possible in the near future to develop blood tests to screen for the mutation and help diagnose myeloproliferative disorders.

Green says these results will have important implications for the classification, diagnosis, and treatment of the myeloproliferative disorders and provide insight into how they develop.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas