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Understanding FISH Test Results

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Published on January 31, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • FISH stands for fluorescent in situ hybridization.
  • FISH testing looks at what is happening inside a cancer cell and helps determine how aggressive the disease is for a patient.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia expert Dr. Farrukh Awan breaks down FISH testing, what it stands for, and what the results can reveal about a patient’s disease risk. Watch as Dr. Awan explains how FISH tests are used to uncover genetic abnormalities in cancer cells and help doctors determine how aggressive a person's CLL is. 

This program is sponsored by AbbVie Inc., Genentech, Inc. and Adaptive Biotechnologies. These organizations have no editorial control. It is produced by Patient Power and Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | Understanding FISH Test Results

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Carol Preston:            

What does FISH tell you? First of all, what does it stand for? And what does that test tell you? And it makes it more challenging for you if they haven’t had the test. 

Dr. Awan:                  

Yes, I think in very simple words, FISH stands for fluorescent in situ hybridization, and there’s gonna be a test later on, so…

Dr. Thompson:           

If you guys want, write it down.

Dr. Awan:                  

…so, no, fluorescent in situ hybridization is one of the techniques we use to look at the cancer cell and see what’s wrong in the message. And is that message which is in the book of life inside the cancer cell, is that making the cancer cell behave more aggressively, or less aggressively. And that’s how we can stratify, or we can put patients in different classes; some of them will do really well, some of them will do really poorly and have a very aggressive disease. Some of them will have big lymph nodes, some of them will not. So, those are some of the things we can check inside the cancer cell, the genetic problems inside the cancer cell by a simple test called the FISH in which we culture the cells and put certain probes on and the light up and that’s how we look at it under the microscope and figure out what you have.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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