Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs) are a group of blood cancers which affect the bone marrow.1 The three main types of MPNs are:
Myelofibrosis (MF) – which causes scar tissue to build up inside the bone marrow, meaning blood cells can’t be produced effectively, leaving patients with low numbers of red blood cells2
Essential thrombocythaemia (ET) – which results in the blood containing too many platelets, leaving patients at a higher risk of developing blood clots3
Polycythaemia vera (PV) – which causes the overproduction of red blood cells4
MPNs are relatively rare, and most people diagnosed are over the age of 60.2–4 MF occurs in around one in every 100,000 people, and around 0.5–2 cases of ET or PV are diagnosed per 100,000 people per year.2–4
MF can develop spontaneously (primary MF), or can develop in people who have ET or PV (secondary or post-ET / post-PV MF).2 MF causes scarring of the bone marrow (fibrosis), which affects its ability to produce healthy blood cells and as a result organs like the liver and spleen compensate and produce blood cells in its place.2
ET also affects blood cell development, with patients producing a higher than normal number of platelets.3 Patients with PV produce too many red blood cells, and can be at an increased risk of blood clots.4
For those diagnosed with MPNs who do not have symptoms, a ‘watch and wait’ approach to treatment is often recommended.5 This involves regular monitoring and check-ups with a haematologist, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If the symptom burden increases, treatment options are:1
Stem cell transplant in eligible patients with higher-risk disease
Cytoreductive therapy (mostly hydroxyurea or interferon)
These resources have been developed based on the results of the MPN Landmark Survey. This included invaluable input from nearly 300 members of the MPN Voice patient community, who shared their thoughts and experiences on what it is like to live with an MPN every day, and 31 physicians who treat people with MPNs.6
You don’t have to suffer in silence and there are options to help control or alleviate your MPN symptoms. Get Heard. Get Help. Speak with your doctor and get involved in the conversation. #MPNsymptoms
Tefferi A, Pardanani A. JAMA Oncology. 2015;1(1).
Harrison C, McLornan D. Hematology. 2014;19(2):120–1
Brière JB. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. 2007;2(3).
Stuart BJ, Viera AJ. American Family Physician. 2004;69(9):2139–2144.