Myelofibrosis: Genetic Characteristics and the Emerging Therapeutic Landscape

Ayalew Tefferi, Naseema Gangat, Animesh Pardanani, John D. Crispino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Primary myelofibrosis (PMF) is one of three myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) that are morphologically and molecularly interrelated, the other two being polycythemia vera (PV) and essential thrombocythemia (ET). MPNs are characterized by JAK-STAT- activating JAK2, CALR, or MPL mutations that give rise to stem cell-derived clonal myeloproliferation, which is prone to leukemic and, in case of PV and ET, fibrotic transformation. Abnormal megakaryocyte proliferation is accompanied by bone marrow fibrosis and characterizes PMF, while the clinical phenotype is pathogenetically linked to ineffective hematopoiesis and aberrant cytokine expression. Among MPN-associated driver mutations, type 1-like CALR mutation has been associated with favorable prognosis in PMF, while ASXL1, SRSF2, U2AF1-Q157, EZH2, CBL, and K/NRAS mutations have been shown to be prognostically detrimental. Such information has enabled development of exclusively genetic (GIPSS) and clinically integrated (MIPSSv2) prognostic models that facilitate individualized treatment decisions. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation remains the only treatment modality in MFwith the potential to prolong survival, whereas drug therapy, including JAK2 inhibitors, is directed mostly at the inflammatory component of the disease and is therefore palliative in nature. Similarly, disease-modifying activity remains elusive for currently available investigational drugs, while their additional value in symptom management awaits controlled confirmation. There is a need for genetic characterization of clinical observations followed by in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies that will hopefully identify therapies that target the malignant clone in MF to improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-763
Number of pages15
JournalCancer research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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