Polycythemia vera: A concise summary of diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment

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Polycythemia vera (PV) is currently classified under the chronic myeloid disorders and is subcategorized as a Philadelphia-negative chronic myeloproliferative disorder. Accordingly, it is characterized by trilineage myeloid proliferation and has the propensity to undergo further clonal evolution into myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia or acute leukemia. The diagnosis of PV requires the demonstration of an increased hemoglobin concentration or hematocrit from baseline which is associated with a suppressed serum erythropoietin level. These characteristics, along with others, help distinguish PV from secondary causes of erythrocytosis. In addition, bone marrow morphologic and immunohistochemical studies may complement clinical diagnosis. Characteristic clinical features include pruritus, thrombohemorrhagic complications, and erythromelalgic reactions. Advanced age and a previous history of thrombosis are adverse prognostic features. Phlebotomy remains the mainstay of treatment. In addition, high-risk patients may require myelosuppressive agents. The role of aspirin therapy remains undefined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research, Therapy and Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Chronic myeloproliferative disease
  • Myelosuppressive agents
  • Phlebotomy
  • Polycythemia vera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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