Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), is the presence of acquired mutations in blood cells of an individual in the absence of an overt blood cancer. It is not a condition that you are born with, but rather something that can happen later in life as you age, receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, or due to other factors such as inflammation or toxic exposures.

Having CHIP can put you at risk for a range of medical conditions, including an increased risk for developing blood cancers, cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attacks, gastrointestinal diseases or autoimmune diseases.

CHIP is common and more than 10% of adults age 60 and above have it. This frequency is higher for cancer survivors and individuals with significant cardiovascular disease history.

While screening for CHIP is not currently offered in most hospitals, the University of Chicago Medicine has the means to test for it. Additionally, our physician-scientists actively engage in research to advance the understanding of this condition and better help the individuals who live with it.

At the UChicago Medicine CHIP Clinic, our experts will assess each patient on an individual basis, and create a treatment plan for coordinated, ongoing care that may include other specialists.


There’s no single cause for CHIP. People who do not have blood cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma develop CHIP due to changes in cells that produce blood cells.

This can happen after cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. It can also arise due to mutations in proliferating blood cells that cannot be effectively repaired and accumulate as a person ages.

Then, CHIP will progress slowly over several years and account for a sizeable portion of a person's blood. This raises their risk for blood cancers and other CHIP-associated health problems.

Certain people may be at greater risk for developing CHIP. It is more common in:

  • Older adults, particularly those 60 and older
  • Cancer survivors who received radiation or certain types of chemotherapy
  • People with extensive histories of heart disease, stroke or autoimmune conditions.
CHIP does not cause noticeable symptoms on its own and it doesn’t manifest the same way for everyone. However, there may be indications of the condition such as abnormal blood test results.

CHIP is detected during a blood test, which is part of advanced DNA sequencing that all cancer patients at UChicago Medicine undergo.

Patients who are already diagnosed with CHIP or strongly suspected to have CHIP are welcome at the clinic for additional testing, evaluation and treatment.

At this time, there are no screening guidelines for the general population. Your medical providers can help you determine if you’re at a high risk for CHIP and should be tested, or if they identify blood test abnormalities that may warrant CHIP testing.

The CHIP Clinic at UChicago Medicine is part of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and works closely with physicians in the Cancer Risk & Prevention Clinic, our adult cancer survivorship program and our pediatric cancer survivorship program to identify, evaluate and treat those who may have CHIP.

The CHIP Clinic also works with specialists across UChicago Medicine, including cardio-oncologists, rheumatologists and others.

There is currently no way to fully reverse or cure CHIP. However, its effects can be monitored and mitigated to help patients who have it live the healthiest life possible. In addition, several clinical studies are underway to investigate new therapeutic approaches that may reverse this process.

Once a patient is found to have CHIP, UChicago Medicine physician-scientists will perform a risk assessment by determining the number of CHIP mutations in your blood along with the percentage of blood cells involved. They will also determine if your CHIP involves genes that confer higher risk for leukemic transformation. All of this is done in conjunction with a comprehensive medical history evaluation.

Then, patients will receive an active surveillance plan, oftentimes with an emphasis on cardiovascular health, and be referred to specialists across the health system. Patients at higher risk for leukemia or other blood cancers may be sent for additional testing, such as a bone marrow biopsy.

Your physician can refer you to the CHIP Clinic, or you can call the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at 1-855-702-8222 to request an appointment at the CHIP Clinic.

There is robust research related to CHIP in many specialties. It is growing particularly fast in oncology since primary cancer treatments are allowing patients to live much longer, which increases their risk for CHIP and leukemia. Therapy-related leukemias are difficult to treat, but identifying CHIP as an early precursor condition can help people live longer, better lives.

UChicago Medicine experts are actively participating in research to understand what drives the evolution from CHIP to leukemia. They are committed to finding new and better ways to treat CHIP through clinical trials that may better help patients. Their efforts will expand as the CHIP Clinic grows, giving patients access to advanced care based on the latest clinical research.

You can expect comprehensive and compassionate care that is centered on you. The CHIP Clinic team will work with you to determine the best options to manage your condition and help you live the best, longest life possible.

Consult with your doctor to find out if you should be evaluated for CHIP at UChicago Medicine or call 1-855-702-8222 to request an appointment.


Who Treats CHIP?

While the CHIP Clinic is part of the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, our CHIP team works closely with a variety of UChicago Medicine specialists. In addition to monitoring for blood cancers, most CHIP patients will also be referred to our cardio-oncology team for cardiovascular health monitoring.