The purpose of the study is to learn more about people with early stage lymphoproliferative disorders. These are conditions where the immune system is not entirely normal and may produce abnormal lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) or proteins in the blood.
The majority of individuals with lymphoproliferative abnormalities do not experience any serious effect on their health, however a small number do go on to develop more serious conditions, such as blood or bone marrow cancers. Out of a hundred people with the pre-cancerous lymphoproliferative disorders, only one or two per year will go on to develop blood or bone marrow cancer. Currently, we do not have a reliable way to predict which individuals with these disorders are more likely to develop a blood or bone marrow cancer.
By studying a large group of individuals over time we hope to discover more about what factors might predict progression. We may be able to identify markers which identify individuals who are more or less likely to develop blood or bone marrow cancer. These markers might be particular symptoms, gene changes called mutations or levels of particular molecules or cells in the blood or bone marrow. In the longer term this may enable us to identify those people who would benefit from certain types of treatment or from receiving treatment at an earlier stage and also to confidently reassure those who will never progress.
In addition to looking for these markers we will also collect information about:
- What it is like to live with one of these conditions (by asking you to complete ‘Quality of Life’ questionnaires)
- How many people with these conditions develop other significant medical conditions, such as serious infections, thrombosis (blood clots) or other types of cancer.