Low-risk polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia: management considerations and future directions

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Thrombotic events are a distinctive feature of the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) polycythemia vera (PV) and essential thrombocythemia (ET). Patients with these MPNs may also experience a poor quality of life secondary to symptom burden, as well as progression of disease to acute leukemia or myelofibrosis. Over the years, various risk stratification methods have evolved in order to attempt to predict thrombotic risk, which is the largest contributor of morbidity and mortality in these patients. More than half of PV and ET patients are low- or intermediate-risk disease status at the time of diagnosis. While therapeutic development is presently focused on high-risk patients, there is a paucity of therapies, outside of aspirin and therapeutic phlebotomy, which can reduce the thrombotic risk or delay disease progression in low-risk patients. In this review, we first describe the various complications that patients with PV and ET experience, and then detail our evolving understanding of risk stratification in these diseases. We then highlight the available evidence on the management of low-risk PV and ET and include a description of novel therapies currently under investigation in this space. We conclude with recommendations for future directions to advance our understanding and improve the treatment of low-risk PV and ET.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-951
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of Hematology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Essential thrombocythemia
  • Low risk
  • Myeloproliferative neoplasms
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Risk stratification


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