The use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was a revolutionary step in molecular biology, allowing for small amounts of genetic material to be amplified and studied. The advent of real-time PCR was a further refinement that led to reliable quantification of RNA and DNA. This allowed response monitoring and the detection of minimal residual disease, which proved to have important correlations with outcome in certain malignancies. The technology is indispensable for physicians and pathologists caring for oncology patients. In this article we will review the applications of molecular technology in the diagnosis and management of malignancies. Using chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) as an example, technical aspects and clinical correlations will be discussed, with emphasis on the importance of quality assurance and standardisation to allow for comparability of results across laboratories. We will also examine emerging technologies that allow for high throughput and rapid turnaround of specimens and speculate how these would affect outcomes in future health care. The established and emerging molecular technologies have applications in many fields of oncology.
- Chronic myeloid leukaemia
- Molecular techniques
- Quantitative PCR
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine