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About the Center for Prevention of Progression

  • Irene Ghobrial, MD, and David Steensma, MD

  • The Center for Prevention of Progression is the first-of-its-kind clinic for patients with precursor conditions of hematologic malignancies. Building on Dana-Farber's past and ongoing research efforts of precursor conditions, the clinic evaluates individuals diagnosed with these conditions or at high risk for disease development, and works with patients to manage their risk of disease progression.

    Our goal is to increase early detection and improve treatment options for precursor conditions, so we can prevent these conditions from developing into blood cancers which are often incurable, or from resulting in other complications such as cardiovascular death or organ dysfunction.

    As with many solid tumors, some blood cancers are preceded by precursor conditions. These conditions are sometimes found through routine blood tests, but often remain undiagnosed. Precursor blood conditions include:

    • Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP): Increases risk of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myeloproliferative neoplasms, lymphoid malignancies, and cardiovascular disease
    • Clonal cytopenias of undetermined significance (CCUS): Increases risk of MDS or AML
    • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS): Increases risk of multiple myeloma, lymphoma, or Waldenström's macroglobulinemia
    • Smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM): Increases risk of multiple myeloma
    • Early (lower-risk) myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS): Increases risk of higher-risk and acute myeloid leukemia
    • Monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL): Increases risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

    Certain individuals are at higher risk for these conditions and should consider screening and counseling at the Center. These include:

    • Individuals with minor blood count abnormalities without other features of a specific disease.
    • Individuals with a first-degree relative with multiple myeloma or B-cell malignancies are three times more likely to have a precursor blood condition.

    Patients are cared for by a multidisciplinary team that harnesses Dana-Farber's leadership and expertise in hematologic malignancies, genetic risk and prevention. This includes hematologists/oncologists who specialize in a patient's specific precursor condition, as well as specialists in genetic risk and prevention, genetic counseling, psychosocial support, and other specialties as needed.

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  • Irene Ghobrial, MD, discusses precursor hematologic conditions
    Dr. Ghobrial explains precursor conditions for hematologic malignancies, and how the new Center for Prevention of Progression aims to help patients manage these conditions and prevent progression to blood cancers.