Treatment of myelofibrosis: A moving target

Sonia Cerquozzi, Nosha Farhadfar, Ayalew Tefferi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Myelofibrosis (MF) is a myeloproliferative neoplasm that presents either as a primary disease or evolves secondarily from polycythemia vera or essential thrombocythemia to post-polycythemia vera MF or post-essential thrombocythemia MF, respectively. Myelofibrosis is characterized by stem cell-derived clonal myeloproliferation, abnormal cytokine expression, bone marrow fibrosis, anemia, splenomegaly, extramedullary hematopoiesis, constitutional symptoms, cachexia, leukemic progression, and shortened survival. Therapeutic options for patients with MF have been limited to the use of cytoreductive agents, predominantly hydroxyurea; splenectomy and splenic irradiation for treatment of splenomegaly; and management of anemia with transfusions, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, androgens, and immunomodulatory agents along with steroids. The only curative option is allogeneic stem cell transplantation (ASCT), which is associated with high morbidity and mortality risks. Recently, JAK (Janus kinase) inhibitor therapies have become available and proven to be palliative in primary MF patients with hydroxyurea-refractory splenomegaly and severe constitutional symptoms. The purpose of this article is to review the clinical features of MF; discuss different treatment strategies, including ASCT; and discuss the potential danger and benefit of using JAK inhibitors prior to ASCT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Journal (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • JAK inhibitor
  • myelofibrosis
  • ruxolitinib
  • targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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