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Also known as: t(9;22)PCR, BCR-ABL PCR

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Translocations between chromosome 9 and 22 resulting in fusion of the BCR and ABL1 genes can occur in a number of haematological malignancies, particularly chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), and also acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The presence of this fusion has diagnostic and therapeutic implications.

The fusion gene can be detected at very low concentrations and be a marker of therapeutic response or disease progression.

Clinical Utility

Presence of a BCR-ABL1 fusion gene in patients with CML is associated with response to targeted therapy by tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as imatinib, and good prognosis. It is associated with a poor prognosis in ALL or AML. Quantitative PCR is typically used in post-treatment minimal residual disease monitoring, as it can detect the presence of a very low level of the BCR-ABL1 fusion gene.

This is an assay for non-heritable mutations. It does not raise issues of ethics or consent that are different from most other investigations ordered in the routine care of a patient.

Test Method

Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis to determine the level of BCR-ABL1 fusion transcript, normalised to the International Scale (IS). The sample is sent to an accredited non-Sonic laboratory for analysis.

Test Ordering

This test is usually requested by a haematologist or oncologist.

0.5 mL bone marrow in dedicated EDTA (or 10 mL blood in dedicated EDTA if peripheral blood is used for monitoring)

To help ensure the quality of the test, a genetic test should be done with a dedicated sample whenever possible i.e. a sample collected specifically for that test rather than a sample that is used for multiple tests.

We also recommend that the patient or another adult check the labelling of request forms and sample tubes.

Special Instructions

The sample must reach the laboratory within 24 hours of collection.

Before sending the sample for testing, please contact us on 1800 010 447 (Australia only) to confirm the availability of testing within this timeframe.


Pricing note:

This test may have a rebate for all or part of the cost.

Medicare Rebate

This test has a Medicare rebate of $196.35, subject to the requirements of the Medicare descriptor being met. The MBS item number is 73314.

Turnaround Time

7-10 working days.