Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Molecular Remission

I had my regular visit with my oncologist at Dana-Farber. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the latest results of my most recent blood test. For those of you keeping notes at home, my original PCR value at diagnosis almost 2 years ago was 34.5%.

The PCR test is defined as the following from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Website:

The short name for a lab test called "polymerase chain reaction," a very sensitive test that can measure the presence of a blood cancer cell marker in the blood.

This meant that at diagnosis 34.5% of my blood cells showed the presence of the BCR-ABL cancer gene that produces CML. My previous reading in October 2007 showed that this number had dropped to 0.02%. This was more than a 3-log (or three fold) reduction since diagnosis.

As of December 2007 when my blood was last drawn, the number had dropped even further to 0.0038%. This is another 10-fold reduction. In total, that means a 4-log reduction since diagnosis. Although my wife thinks it is funny that I focus on these numbers, it helps to think of this in context. Otherwise, these numbers are meaningless. When you have cancer, numbers mean everything.

Upon meeting with my doctor today and reviewing the numbers, he said that he would consider me in Molecular Remission. This was essentially the last stage of remission and a huge relief. I have included a definition of molecular remission below.

Molecular response
A treatment response is called a complete molecular remission if no leukemia cells in the blood and/or marrow can be detected by PCR.

Needless to say, this is great news and I am still processing what this means. In the meantime, I can relax a little and enjoy life.


Annie - Steven's mom said...

Hey there Jon

CONGRATS! Wow - this is a totally awesome result! Way to go......:-)

I am so pleased to hear these numbers - may they stay that low or get even lower

Now you can really relax and enjoy. What a wonderful way to start the new year.

love and light
Steven's mom

Anonymous said...

Fantastic news, as Annie says what a wonderful way to start the new year

Rob :

David said...

This is wonderful news! You are a true inspiration to everyone. See you soon.

Dave, Lisa, and Josh

Anonymous said...

we are thrilled with your numbers. They are what you have to grab onto. We love you.
Mom and Dad

El said...

Jon, I hope you and Melissa are taking the time to celebrate this FANTASTIC news. And thank you for sharing your journey through the blog. We are so relieved! Elena & Michael

Deborah said...

Way to go, JG. Life is good! Deborah

Lori said...

Great news, Jon. I'm so happy to hear it!

Michelle said...

Congrats on the good news. I am so happy for you and Melissa. Wishing you continued good health.

Love, Michelle and Andrew

Rhonda Radliff said...

Wow what great news!!!! Congratulations.

I know what you mean about the 'numbers' issue. Without a spot on an xray or somthing to focus on, the numbers are the only way to measure progress towards becoming free from disease. As a CML'r I am all too focused on the PCR results lately, and have another BMB in two weeks. In the meantime, I am juggling side effects in hops of taming this shrew of a disease!

Glad to hear of your success and I must say... I am envious of your numbers! hahaha. Hopefully I'll have some Zero's soon too.